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Evidence shows that power over corporation tax must go to Holyrood

I note your front page article and supportive leader comment calling for a reduction in business rates ("Call to help high street as retailers fight for life", December 26).

However, I struggled to see any suggestions as to where the money should come from to pay for this. Should there be cuts to the health budget, the further education budget or to the education budget to pay for lower rates for businesses?

As the Parliament's Finance Committee examined the budget for 2013/14, many witnesses suggested ways of spending more money – but few suggested where the compensating cuts should be made.

John Swinney faces a number of challenges in presenting his annual budget these days, not least the cuts from Westminster. In particular he has to live within a fixed budget and is unable to vary most taxes in the way finance secretaries do in other independent countries.

There is a lot of resentment that Westminster has failed to properly tax a number of profitable companies, including Starbucks and Google. On top of that it seems Westminster has already lost taxation from, and is having to pour money into, the failed Comet company.

These are the reasons why Scotland needs power over corporation tax. Then companies could be taxed more appropriately according to how profitable they are. Currently the Scottish Government is doing the best it can with very limited powers and has to be commended for the fact that small businesses are exempt from business rates altogether.

If people want specific answers as to how an independent Scotland would be run better than the present UK, business taxation is surely one of the areas to look at.

The current Westminster system has clearly failed to create and operate a proper system of company taxation and surely a Scottish Government of almost any political colour could do better than that.

John Mason,

Deputy Convenor Finance Committee,

MSP for Glasgow Shettleston,

1335 Gallowgate,

Parkhead Cross, Glasgow.

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