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Scotland tax heaven

Gerard Depardieu is off to live in Belgium, a fate you wouldn't wish on anyone.

Worse, he's getting pelters from some fellow French citizens for being a tax exile. The socialist government in France has raised tax on income over 1m euros to 75%. Depardieu has decided to relocate just across the border where the tax is 50%. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described Depardieu's behaviour as "shabby". See the view from moral high ground? See politicians living well off the public purse?

Jean de Florette, as I often think fondly of M Depardieu, is upset at accusations of a lack of patriotism. Over his career he has paid £118m to the French taxman. Not a shabby sum. Depardieu is handing back his French passport which is sad.

My message to him is don't go to Belgium, come to Scotland. You will like my new tax regime for an independent (or fully fiscally enabled) Scotland. The back of the envelope is available for inspection. No individual pays more than 20% tax regardless of income. After all, 20% of many millions of pounds is better than no percent of nothing. No tax on success. (Another detail on the envelope is that all companies pay reasonable taxes. No dodges, no exceptions.)

So Gerard, the big man, comes to live in Glasgow. He is a lovely neighbour, people will say. Never peed in the close once. In fact, never misses his turn at the stairs.

In a few years we'll not be able to move for film stars, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and interesting wealthy folk who have come to Scotland, enriching the country with more than money.

Sean Connery is back living in Fountainbridge. He plays his golf at Braid Hills. His pal Michael Caine, another new Scottish taxpayer, doesn't golf but goes along to caddy just for the exercise.

Andy Murray is working as a tennis coach in Dunblane. Lionel Messi fulfils his ambition of playing in the Scottish first division and hopes he can one day get Rangers promoted back to the SPL.

There's only one rule in the tax regime. Nobody evades or avoids paying the 20%. Those who do get an official sherrickin (that's Scottish for being named and shamed) on BBC Reporting Scotland. Persistent offenders are given a knighthood and then have it taken away.

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