In recent weeks there has been much discussion on the financial aspects of the independence debate, especially on currency and how the stand-off, between the Scottish Government and the united front presented by Westminster parties over the use of the pound, is affecting the business community.
As a result, there remain a number of unanswered questions that require all the politicians to clearly articulate their position on the options on the table, not just in assertive or denying fashion but in a constructive way.
The delivery of a Yes vote would mean Scottish businesses with a sizeable customer base focused outside Scotland would have to consider all their options. Already, Standard Life has announced contingency measures to protect their business should any future Scottish financial regime not suit their purposes
As for investment from abroad, there is already a lot of money invested in Scotland as a foreign country and I doubt all of that would suddenly flee. However, it is up to all the political parties to reassure investors that Scotland won't become a third-world country after September 18.
The tendency for politicians to offer soundbites rather than a detailed debate of the main issues within the overall context of the business and financial sectors is dispiriting. Businesses need to feel confident that politicians are taking a longer and more rounded view. The debate is becoming polarised and both sides need to consider what they are going to deliver for tomorrow's Scotland rather than trot out dogma.
Business is wisely doing its contingency planning but it seems that the politicians are not. For instance, what is their response to the major tax changes due to come into effect over the next two years as a result of the largely overshadowed Scotland Act 2012?
From April 1, 2015, the Scottish Parliament will have the power to introduce taxes on the disposal of waste to landfill and the purchase or leasing of land and buildings, which includes the ability to control Stamp Duty. An announcement by Finance Secretary John Swinney on what the rates and bands for these will be is expected in September. Businesses are keen to know the views on these powers and how they will be used to see a more business-friendly Scotland and help create "sustainable economic growth".
Next year Revenue Scotland, a new body charged with assessing and collecting these two new taxes, will be established ahead of April 1, 2016 when the Scottish ministers will have the ability to set a partial rate of income tax, through the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT).
This means that the Scottish Parliament will have responsibility for 15% of the taxes paid in Scotland while 85% will remain reserved by the UK Government with HMRC collecting and administering both. Interestingly, it will also define a Scottish taxpayer and introduce the real possibility of different tax rates in Scotland than the rest of the UK - another mechanism for economic growth or a political facade?
And what of taxes such as Air Passenger Duty (APD)? How can it be devolved to Northern Ireland and not Scotland? It is an example of UK policy not fit for Scottish business purpose. While the outcome of the Heathrow Review continues to be delayed, the problem of airport hubs is becoming critical. Many business people are abandoning London in favour of European hubs for international travel - indeed in Inverness they have no realistic choice - which means that, ironically, the UK is losing out on tax revenue.
Businesses will thrive and survive whatever the constitutional situation, but this is because they plan for months and even years ahead. At the moment the political dearth of a concrete business plan with accompanying scenario planning for the nation is quite scary. As ever, we need to see strong leadership and some brave and sensible comments rather than dogma and increasingly acrimonious petty point-scoring. The economy and business are just too important.
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