Financial News

  • 10 June 2014, 17:31

Tycoons To Argue Case For Scottish Tax Revamp

Scotland could become one of the world's five leading advanced economies if it adopts tax reforms designed to promote long-term investment, a group of economists and businesspeople will argue this week.

Sky News understands that N-56 will set out on Wednesday its argument for a series of measures that should be implemented regardless of the outcome of September's independence referendum.

Established by Dan Macdonald, the chief executive of property developer Macdonald Estates, N-56 is a new pro-business organisation which has consulted prominent researchers including Capital Economics about the viability of its proposals.

In a report called Scotland Means Business, the new group will call for the removal of tax disadvantages for equity versus debt financing in an attempt to promote long-term investment.

"(This would make) Scotland an attractive location for equity providers and other financial institutions; suppor the equity model of long term business finance, so providing long term patient finance; help to address the impact in pension funds of the removal of advance corporation tax in the UK; and encourage increased equity investment in growing Scottish businesses," according to a source with knowledge of the report.

Such a system could be structured through a 'dividend imputation system' such as that used in New Zealand which avoids the double taxation of dividend income.

N-56, which is named after Scotland's latitudinal position, is understood to be keen to remain distant from the politics of the intensifying independence debate.

One source said that the brother of Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the permanent secretary to the Treasury, was among those consulted about the new group's proposals.

Sir Nicholas was at the centre of a political row in April about a letter he wrote to rebuff Nationalists' claim that an independent Scotland would continue to use the pound.

He denied the SNP's suggestion that the Chancellor, George Osborne, had put pressure on him to argue against a continued currency union in the event of a 'Yes' vote.

"I would advise you against entering into a currency union with an independent Scotland. There is no evidence that adequate proposals or policy changes to enable the formation of a currency union could be devised, agreed and implemented by both governments in the foreseeable future," Sir Nicholas wrote in his letter.

N-56 will say in its report that it has examined the policy-making approach of successful economies including Denmark, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.

A full list of founder supporters is likely to be published this week, which marks the milestone of 100 days until September's vote.

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