Most Scots want corporation tax setting powers, says new poll

Public Entrance Scottish Parliament

An new Guardian-ICM poll suggests that most Scots want Holyrood to be able to set corporation tax rates. The poll also reiterates the surge of the SNP.

A sample of 1,004 (18+) respondents in Scotland were interviewed online by ICM Unlimited.

The new survey suggests that 53% of Scots think that Scotland should set its own corporation tax rates, as opposed to 23% who disagreed and 24% who said they were unsure. Holyrood does not have the power to set Scotland’s corporation tax rates - that right is reserved by Westminster. Additionally, whilst the recent Smith Commission gave new powers to Holyrood, the proposals fell short of giving Scots control over corporation tax rates.

Northern Ireland could be getting control over setting its own rates as David Cameron said last month that there is a strong case for devolving this particular power.

The current UK rate of corporation tax is 21%, but will fall to 20% in April. In 2010 the rate was 28%. In the Republic of Ireland, the rate of corporation tax is much lower 12.5% - the main reason why many in Northern Ireland are supportive of having the ability to set their rates. This would allow Northern Ireland to compete with the Republic for firms more effectively.

Control over corporation tax rates is something the SNP will want for Scotland, but they are unlikely to get it in the near future despite the ICM poll suggesting that a majority of Scots favour the idea.

Additionally, the poll also predicts a “bloodbath” for Labour. It suggests that on a uniform swing - which is a crude measure - the SNP could end up with 45/59 Scottish seats if the results are repeated in May.

The poll gives the following results for shares of the vote:

SNP: 43% (+23 compared to 2010)

Labour: 26% (-16)

Conservative: 13% (-4)

Liberal Democrats: 6% (-13)

UKIP: 7% (+6)

Greens: 4% (+3)

Such results, if repeated in May, would be a dramatic turnaround from the parties' places in 2010. Additionally, it also reiterates the results of the question on corporation tax rates: Scots want more powers for Holyrood.

The poll also suggests that 30% think the Smith Commission did not go far enough. 26% think they got it about right, whilst 13% said that it went to far.

Overall, it appears that Scotland wants to be more autonomous whilst in the United Kingdom. Scotland may have voted ‘no’ in September but the country’s desire for more powers will not disappear.


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