North must get tax protection

Business news from the Lancashire Evening Post
Business news from the Lancashire Evening Post
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Safeguards against tax competition between the North and Scotland need to be built into any plans for independence, an economic think-tank has said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has said economic leaders also needed to demand “control of far more powers and resources” from Whitehall to give it a level playing field.

It also said the North needs a figure like Scotland’s First Minister to “speak with one voice” saying its Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) model “pales in comparison.”

IPPR North associate director Katie Schmuecker said it was crucial the North joined the debate on Scotland’s future due to the risk of tax competition if Scotland secures independence.

She said: “The North should learn from international experience and argue that a more fiscally autonomous Scotland should sign up to a fiscal code of conduct to allay fears of serious damage to the northern economy.

“It should not be afraid of developments in Scotland, the risk of Scotland reducing corporation tax has been overstated and in the short and medium term it is extremely unlikely that Scotland would choose to ‘do an Ireland’ given its current fiscal situation.

“Northern leaders should learn from the ambitious outlook of the Scots, and champion decentralisation and further local powers to the North.

“This is a chance for the North to renegotiate its position with Westminster to ensure its future prosperity.

“It needs to ensure that whatever deal is reached between Westminster and Holyrood, the North is not unduly disadvantaged.”