THE CONSERVATIVES yesterday vowed to hand more tax powers to the Scottish government if it rejects a split from the UK, as David Cameron warned that an independent Scotland would have to join the back of the queue for EU membership.
The Prime Minister and chancellor George Osborne are both said to have thrown their support behind plans announced yesterday to allow Scotland greater control over tax policy if it votes no to independence.
Other concessions offered by the Scottish Conservatives include an independent Scottish fiscal commission, greater control over budgets for social security and a share of Scottish VAT receipts.
The proposals are part of a review by Lord Strathclyde, former leader of the House of Lords. Stephen Herring, head of tax at the Institute of Directors said: “There are costs involved and a number of disadvantages ... the real question here is whether the advantages to both Scotland and the broader UK tax environment would outweigh the considerable costs of implementation.”
Speaking in Newark ahead of Thursday’s by-election, Cameron said: “If Scotland votes for independence they are no longer members of the EU and it’s become clearer and clearer since this campaign started that they would have to reapply to join the EU and as such, as an independent country, they would have to queue up as it were behind other countries.”
His message was backed by a report from Business for New Europe, which says an independent Scotland could expect to rejoin the EU in 2019 at the earliest.