Friday, 18 October 2013

Is competition a sin?

I suspect I’ll receive one of four answers to this question:
Of course it is you heartless Tory! – (Most on the left)
Of course not you hippy communist! – (Most on the right)
Of course it is you hippy communist! – (Those in the 1%)
Oh, so you think you know the answer you smug [expletive]! – (Everyone else)

The reason why I raise this issue is because it has skirted around the independence debate for quite some time.  There have been numerous warnings from those in the ‘no’ campaign that an independent Scotland would need to compete with the rest of the UK and, with our government selfishly acting in our interests, this will result in a race to the bottom that will hurt everyone, but is there any truth to this?

The short answer is, no.  Businesses are always competing, both domestically and internationally.  This won’t be changed by having decisions affecting Scotland being made in Scotland.  What will change is the increase in attention that Scottish brands will receive through our own consulates and trade missions, but that would only be a benefit to our economy (it’s a privilege which some of our companies are currently having to pay for).

Competition under the UK's current rules
Independence allows us to move away from the false choices of Westminster.  Business tax rates don’t need to be raised or lowered in ungainly blocks; they can be adjusted in various ways.  For example, we can set lower taxes for smaller businesses, look at the cost of water and electricity, change national insurance rates so that those companies who employ people in Scotland benefit the most, set tax rates and reliefs by industry and much, much more.  A ‘race to the bottom’ is simply not necessary.

Westminster can’t put Scotland first because most of the funding for its parties and the votes for its parliament are concentrated in the South of England.  They will not bring in the legislation or policies which Scotland requires if it will hurt their main interests.

Scotland's prospects if we were to vote 'no'
Independence means that we can bring in the laws that benefit us, whilst the rest of the UK can have what suits them.  No racing is required and there will be more opportunities for our businesses to shine abroad.  That is the best of both worlds (and it doesn’t require any more sin!)

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