The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

The race that’s never run

Posted on April 26, 2014 by

Yesterday, Ed Miliband came to Scotland to yet again trot out the Unionist mantra that an independent Scotland would result in a “race to the bottom” between it and the rUK over Corporation Tax (and to marvel that no interviewer ever pulls him up on the fact that Labour cut the tax twice the last time they were in power and promised to cut it further as soon as they could).


We thought it would be interesting to see if that might be true.

So we got out our Bright Primary-Coloured Map Of Europe For Kids and then scurried across to the website of KPMG, one of the world’s biggest auditing companies. We went there because they maintain a handy comparison tool that lets you measure all sorts of tax rates across the entire world in nice easy-to-read graph form, which seemed like it might be useful in the circumstances.

On arriving, we randomly picked a series of pairs of neighbouring OECD countries to see if they had a tendency to race each other to the bottom over corporation taxes.

We tested the theory on countries with similar economies, countries with very different economies, rich countries next to poor countries, big strong countries next to small countries, countries with the same currency and countries with different currencies – basically pretty much every combination we could think of.

Let’s see what happened.



Two of Europe’s most powerful economies. There’s been barely the tiniest flicker of movement in corporation tax rates in either one of them in the past half-decade.



Two countries, one far bigger than the other, shared currency, large language overlap. Practically identical and unchanged corporate taxation levels for years.



Little teeny Slovenia has slashed its corporation tax rate by 4% in five years. The much larger Austria’s reaction to this provocation? To do absolutely nothing.



A couple of former Warsaw Pact countries, again one of them several times larger than the other (Poland being the bigger, if you weren’t sure). Hmm, looks pretty stable.



It’d be weird not to feature some of our Nordic chums, of course. Sweden, like Slovenia, has also cut its corporate taxation rate significantly since 2009, but the similarly-sized, similarly-wealthy Norwegians don’t seem to have been overly alarmed.



Just for fun we thought we’d throw in one pair of countries that didn’t share a land border at all, but are both known as having, let’s say relaxed attitudes towards tax.

There’s a very large discrepancy between both their sizes and their corporation tax rates, and both of them border France and Germany, yet the Luxemburgers don’t seem to have felt the need to compete with Switzerland’s much lower business taxes to attract foreign investment from their wealthy neighbours.



What about if we compare a Western nation to a former Eastern Bloc one? Slovenia’s corporation taxes started off much lower than Italy’s and have gone lower still, dropping four points in five years. Yet Italy hasn’t budged an inch as a result.



Surely we’ll get a fight here? Two countries that are both in big financial trouble, one much bigger than the other, shared currency and culture – that’s got to be a recipe for a cut-throat, beggar-thy-neighbour economic war, surely? Nope.



It can’t be easy sleeping next to the elephant of Europe, in the shape of the powerhouse economy of Germany. Maybe the Poles just don’t want to get the Germans all riled up again, but their corporation taxes seem stubbornly static, and Mrs Merkel and her chums appear uninterested in closing the large gap.



Small, rich, low-tax country next to struggling, bankrupt enormous one with much higher taxes? The Italians are BOUND to take some drastic emergency action to try to redress that imbalance! Oh. Actually it’s the Swiss who’ve trimmed theirs a tiny bit.



Little tiddly micro-nation against one of the big boys? Nope, still nothing.



A tough bottom-of-the-table six-pointer between UKIP’s favourite nations? Hungary is pretty much the only nation on the continent to have INCREASED its corporation tax in recent years, putting three points onto the rate in 2010. The Romanians next door (calm down, Nigel, it’s only a figure of speech!) just sat back and watched.



You’re getting the idea by now, right?

The fact is, Ed Miliband’s doom-vision of adjacent countries getting into Corporation Tax wars is a fantasy with absolutely no basis in reality. Despite testing almost every imaginable set of economic circumstances all the way across Europe, we couldn’t find a SINGLE example of a “race to the bottom” between neighbouring nations.

Labour’s warning isn’t just hypocritical (in the wake of its own fondness for slashing CT), but complete drivel. We’d love to be able to tell you we were more surprised.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 29 08 14 22:00

    48 Lies | A Wilderness of Peace

111 to “The race that’s never run”

  1. Dave says:

    Great stuff Stu – I wonder why ‘real’ journalists can’t find this information. Or do they just copy and paste from their press packs?

  2. Fiona says:

    Now that, Rev Stu, is a brilliant piece of research into an important issue. I am grateful for this and also impressed. The kind of information which just cuts through nonsense promulgated as fact. thank you

  3. Catherine says:

    You’re really showing up the MSM ‘journalists’, I wish you could get to ask the questions, I would love to watch them squirm under your razor sharp scrutiny.

  4. gordoz says:

    But Rev according to Labour isn’t Scotland completely different to every other country ? Dont we need to listen to Big Brother next door or we’ll get it (if you know what I mean).

    Ed says ‘selfish Scots’ who leave there friends in rUK wont get to be in a currency Union. Even if its bad for rUK workers and thats that.

    Does this take into account how poor, wee & stupid we are ?

    Remember our Rubbish Oil & how there’s hardly any left ?

    (Now thats what I call clear, very clear. Thankyou for this info – in use from today. !!)

  5. Jimsie says:

    Great stuff Stuart. These Labour wallahs are all educated in the bizarre Gordy Brown school of economics and the likes of Robert Peston never ask the right questions.

  6. Jamie Arriere says:

    The people who believe this ‘race to the bottom’ nonsense are the same people who believe bankers will emigrate around the world if their bonuses get stymied, or that anyone emigrates on the basis of a Government policy.

  7. heedtracker says:

    Its fascinating how actual economic journalism is virtually never seen anywhere in Scotland. Instead we get this kind of angry propaganda from a bunch of enraged BBC idiots. Plus they’re furious at Scotland, not the latest betttertogtherCBI clown show.

  8. Arbroath 1320 says:

    As usual Stu you have produced the evidence Milliband and his cohorts hoped no one would be able to find. I’m thinking this is another Project Fear lie blown out of the water then. 😛

    All we need to do now is spread the word about this lie being exactly that, a LIE! 😉

  9. ian foulds says:

    Well done Rev.

    You may not get the opportunity to put this to MSM or others of that ilk but, I am sure someone can take this forward to a wider audience.

  10. Capella says:

    What about Ireland? They were supposed to have drastically cut their tax to attract all those US companies to open up branches. Could that be what is bothering Westminster? And what about the likes of Amazon and Starbucks with their HQs in Belgium or Luxembourg?

  11. Jamie Arriere says:

    Rev, do an analysis of UK and Ireland – Ireland slashed their Corporation tax a good while ago as I remember, but I wasn’t aware Westminster was racing it.

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    What is western economy’s blind faith in fantasy economics to the extent of near-bankruptcy but a race to the bottom?

  13. gordoz says:

    Caption for Miliband & Murphy.

    Miliband & Murphy respond to the leaders gag that Labour will win the general election in 2015.

    Murphy replies ‘Aye they’ll believe any pish up there’ !

  14. yerkitbreeks says:

    I think it was classy stuff like this that was getting plaudits from Joan McAlpine in her webcast for Michael Greenwell.

    Keep them coming, Rev, we need the ammo.

  15. Greg says:

    Do you have any data for countries that have gone through something similar? Czech Rep vs Slovenia or the Balkan states when they seprated? i.e. Not from the past 5 years where all these countries who have been trading side by sde and we would expect very little movement. As a employee within a small business I’m concerned that they may decide to relocate if there is a major difference in corporation tax as they already have offices south of the border

  16. gordoz says:

    @heedtracker says

    Aye clearly Doulgas ‘Better Together’ Fraser there!

  17. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Jamie Arriere says:

    Rev, do an analysis of UK and Ireland – Ireland slashed their Corporation tax a good while ago as I remember, but I wasn’t aware Westminster was racing it.

    I’ve just run these two countries on the KPMG website calculator Jamie and WOW wouldn’t you know it this happened.

    Ireland’s Corporation Tax from 2009 through till 2014 stayed rock solid at 12.5%, the U.K. on the other hand for the same period started at 28% and finished up in 2014 at 21%. Not exactly a race to the bottom here. 😉

  18. Training Day says:

    Outstanding article again Rev, which puts to shame every lazy, complacent, biased and downright stupid ‘journalist’ in the ‘Scottish’ MSM.

    I hesitate – only slightly – to say that means all of them.

  19. Murray McCallum says:

    It’s quite surprising how stable the majority of rates are.

    They are likely to reflect domestic economic health rather than a simple reaction to another country’s fiscal policy.

  20. Scott says:

    Stuart, I LIVE for your analysis of Scottish politics while I’m away from the motherland. That your simple level approach is so unique says so much about our domestic (such as it is) media and what a service you are truly doing for democracy and accountability in modern Scotland. Congratulations and thank you.

  21. Helena Brown says:

    Yes have to say you put all journalist presently in the pay of the main stream media to shame, but then you are not worried about your job/political party. I do not know when journalists in the British Isles became so thoroughly entrenched in the Establishment, perhaps it has always been so, but it is so easily seen now.
    Too many years of covering the celebrity culture none are capable.

  22. Fixifox says:

    What can I say Stu? Brilliant work.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Do you have any data for countries that have gone through something similar? Czech Rep vs Slovenia or the Balkan states when they separated?”

    Um, Slovenia was never part of Czechoslovakia…

    The page doesn’t have corp-tax data for Slovakia. You noticed that I linked it so you can go and compare any two nations you like for yourself, right?

    Best I could do for your criteria was Serbia vs Croatia, going back as far as 2006. Serbia’s corp tax was 10% until 2012, when it leapt to 15%. Croatia’s has stayed steady at 20% across the entire period.

  24. heedtracker says:

    @ gordoz, what’s with Taylor’s flag coloured fists and why is the Saltire fist bigger than the union jack fist and so on? Is Scotland bullying England now? Are they really trying to pull that off?

    Usual BBC in Scotland vote no propaganda that’s doing the exact opposite of this report and its not enough for the BBC to say this is only Brian Taylor’s opinion piece. 5 months more of the BBC’s biased, void of fact vindictive drivel, wrapped in union jacks?

  25. Grouse Beater says:

    The photograph at the head of the topic must be of two extras from the movie, “The Hurt Locker.”

  26. HandandShrimp says:

    Why would a large country of nearly 60 million be in a tax war with one of 5 million. We don’t have that many unemployed, it would be hard to make a significant impact on inward investment on the UK because we simply could not absorb it.

    Incidentally, Osborne has brought the UK tax rate down so is that OK or is Ed putting it back up to pre Gordon days of 28%?

    Or is Ed simply a waffling hypocrite?

  27. Angry Weegie says:

    Irish basic Corporation Tax rate has been 12.5% since about 2003. The UK hasn’t felt the need to compete, despite Ireland attracting a fairly substantial amount of inward investment.

  28. Flower of Scotland says:

    Well,well another Labour myth well and truly debunked by Stu! What,s next? Looking forward to the next myth! Good game!

  29. Interesting stuff indeed. Will have to take a look at the UK Vs a selection, like Ireland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight (assuming there’s any difference), France, Germany etc… 🙂

  30. Robin Key says:

    age 56,started stuffing leaflets through doors for independence aged 16, and direct debit every month to help the cause.. Only say this as I live now in Cambridge and can only admire from a distance. The work you are doing Stuart for the cause is quite stunning. Please keep it up.

  31. Capella says:

    Citizen Stu’s journalism is far superior to the MSM variety. It’s the ability to instantly challenge myths and rebut lies that makes a difference. No adverts either! But as a long term career you will have to have some secure income. After all, the time servers in the MSM are well rewarded. Hope you don’t have to cross that bridge anytime soon.

  32. Democracy Reborn says:

    Entirely agree. What on earth do the hacks learn in their post-grad journalism courses these days? How to regurgitate press releases? Is there any attempt at even the most cursory analysis?

    Stu – great piece. The first question any journalist should be asking the next time this mantra is trotted out by Labour is : “can you name any 2 countries in Europe, sharing a land border, who have been in a ‘race to the bottom’ over Corp Tax”?

  33. David McCann says:

    Evidence based journalism. What next?

    An interview by Scotland’s TV as an expert unbiased commentator?

    An appearance on the Andrew Neil Show?

    We can but dream!

  34. Geoff Huijer says:

    In fairness to Labour most of what they say is drivel.

  35. Colin MacDonald says:

    This is one of George Galloway’s favourite lines as well. What tosh he speaks!

  36. msean says:

    As an aside here,I wonder if the families with links on either side of any of the bordering nations consider each other as foreigners. I mean,there are bound to be millions in Europe with relatives on the other side of a border as there are no shortage of borders.

  37. msean says:

    I’m guessing that they don’t see each other as foreigners.

  38. seoc says:

    Do these posh boys have any ability to achieve anything other than search (valiantly?) for something – anything that they might misrepresent, distort or bend it a little – then pretend the result confirms their expensively created lies?

  39. heedtracker says:

    “So I walked up to him and shouted fuck off fuck off fuck off right in his face Ed” ”

    Cripes. Jim, you jocks are so roughy toughy. You’re fired” Ed.

  40. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    This sort of sums up Ed’s day yesterday:

  41. Peter A Bell says:

    A superb piece of analysis by Stu Campbell which totally destroys all the unionist scare stories about a “race to the bottom” on Corporation Tax. Using a comprehensive range of comparisons he very effectively demonstrates that the kind of tax competition that British Labour and their Tory allies try to frighten us with simply doesn’t happen. But, excellent as Stu’s analysis is, it does not seek to explain why this tax competition doesn’t arise.

    The talk of a race to the bottom is effective propaganda precisely because it is simple to understand and intuitively plausible. It seems “obvious” that nations would use business tax rates to compete for foreign investment. But the evidence presented by Stu Campbell proves beyond any question that they don’t. We have to ask why.

    The simple answer is that Corporation Tax is only one of a multitude of fiscal levers that the governments of independent countries have at their disposal. And it is only one of myriad factors that companies take into account when making investment decisions. For example, some businesses rely on good transport links and communications. They will happily pay higher rates of tax in order to locate their businesses where these things meet their needs. Much the same can be said for any aspect of national infrastructure. Or a healthy, educated workforce. Or stable national institutions. The list goes on. And governments will set business taxes at the level they consider to be the optimum taking account of the all the prevailing circumstances in the country.

    The idea that Corporation Tax can meaningfully be considered in isolation is utterly ludicrous. But this is what the British parties are doing in their desperation to find something that will put people off voting to make Scotland one of those independent nations able to control its own fiscal policy.

    Better Together’s propaganda war relies on nobody asking awkward questions. This is why they are so reluctant to put up people for debates. This is why they hold their meetings in secret locations with carefully selected audiences who will not challenge the lies and distortions any more than the mainstream media does. Simple questions such as, “Why is it better for Scotland to have Corporation Tax set at the rate which suits London?”

  42. Clootie says:


    You may need to provide a link for some to understand the attack in the House of Commons on Pete Wishart (oh! did I say that out loud)

  43. Les Wilson says:

    Was out for a while and just powered up again, er WOW !
    This is one of their fav cat calls!, and you have just demolished it. Absolutely brilliant stuff.

    So what will be their call be now I wonder,” forget all that it doesn’t apply to us,were different”!
    If they do I will concede the point, they are different. Universally so!

    I have always pointed out they will say ANYTHING to crush Scottish democracy, I was obviously right!
    Really well done Rev!

  44. Clootie says:

    We know the MSM/BBC journalists have the ability and skill to do this level of investigation. They provide clear evidence when it is an independence theme such as the White Paper / FOI on health issues etc

    Therefore the only conclusion that can be reached is that they have been directed not to dig very deeply.

    An individual with very little support resource and armed with little more than his own initiative can do more in a day than the media can collectively in several?
    (No offence Stu – intended as a compliment)

  45. Big Jock says:

    I’ve mentioned this before.I am outnumbered in my team at work 6\1 with 2 neutrals.I have for some reason got to explain or defend my reason for voting yes.I don’t ask them to explain why they are voting no.Reason its not appropriate at work,its essentially none of my business.I don’t mention the referendum at all because its pointless debating with ignoramousess at work.I have had all the so called no jokes sent to my email about Salmond,Scotland…etc.Borderline offensive…I ignore in general.It came to a head on Friday and I lost the plot deliberately in front of the boss and he half seriously said political bullying.Yes I suppose it is I said.It all centred around someone having a yes Scotland sticker on their car.I was asked if I had one..I proudly said yes and faced a barrage of intimidation and abuse.My response was its none of your business and please respect others opinion.To be honest their level knowledge is the front page of the Metro so I can’t debate with them.Its like Einstein debating relativity with an orangutan!

  46. gordoz says:

    @ Peter A Bell

    “Why is it better for Scotland to have Corporation Tax set at the rate which suits London?”

    “Just ’cause – ‘kay; now let us get back to sorting out this CBI mess”

  47. Roll_On_2014 says:

    STU as you have previously stated:

    Corporation tax fell under Gordon Brown, from a main rate of 33% to 30% (1999) and then 28% (2007). And in April 2008 Gordon Brown stated: “We have cut corporation tax twice and I want to go further. We will reduce the tax again when we are able”.

    That was then followed by the ConDems:

    Corporation tax falls to 20 per cent in fourth consecutive Budget cut.

    George Osborne has now announced a cut in the tax in every one of his four Budgets since the Coalition came to power, when it was as high as 28 per cent.

    So the ‘race to the bottom’ is already in progress, between the Red Tories and the Blue/Yellow Tories.

    Aye CT has been cut from 33% to 20% under these ‘race to the bottom’ hypocrites.

  48. heedtracker says:

    Hi Clootie, guido fawkes is usually on it

    Once Ian Davidson’s been round and bayoneted posted 18th Sept survivors, who’ll record stuff what nasty old Westminster liggers say out loud?

  49. Bevrijdingsdag says:


    Uitstekend journalistiek onderzoek.


  50. heedtracker says:

    O/t but interesting campaign manager job ad on for these evil and cruel anti independence Scotland separatists. £45k a year but don’t Bliar MacDougall and his idiot side kick Shorthouse take over a hundred grand a year each for the bettertogether comedy show?

  51. Luigi says:

    Great work Rev

  52. Luigi says:

    How about an Ireland – UK graph?

    That would be closer to home.

  53. joe kane says:

    Don’t you just love grassroots journalism!
    This is fantastic Rev.
    Thanks very much.

  54. Jim Bo says:

    Rev, stupendous! Yet another myth bites the dust.

  55. This is extremely good work and deserves wider recognition.

    Were I running BBC News or other Unionist media, or
    something in government, I would be sorely tempted to make this irksome Campbell nuisance an offer he couldn’t refuse (in the non cosa nostra sense).

    Either a large chunk of change with a non-compete so he would get lost on a sandy beach somewhere, or preferably, take up base jumping, or I’d hire him directly, with a big title and fat salary on the basis that it’d be better having him in the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in.

    Anything epitomising journalism best practice is difficult to find in our media, and this article is a rare bird indeed.

    The genius is not in its construction (which is competent as one would expect), nor in the research itself, but rather it is in the thought of doing it, and in the ability to put one’s hand on the precise instrument needed to efficiently action it.

  56. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Big Jock –

    Perhaps easy for me to say, but don’t them get to you mister – ‘he who laughs last’ an’ aw that…

  57. Ian Brotherhood says:

    PS don’t LET them get to you…:)

  58. heedtracker says:

    Check out the teamGB race to even the OECD average bottom too and but so er, the whole of EU’s been cutting corp tax by over 5% in a few years, bastards!

    I’m going to start similar biggest raging bettertogether hypocrite charts because we cant have any racing to the bottom unless teamGB is first.

  59. Jimsie says:

    Big Jock 3.53

    “Einstein debating relativity with an orang-utan”

    I had a discussion the other day on quantum mechanics with an orang-utan. All of us apes are indy supporters as well.

  60. heedtracker says:

    Did anyone check out Canada and the USA? Since 2009, Canada’s undercut the USA right down to 26% from 33% with the USA staying at 40%, no doubt leading to economic between them or not maybe.

  61. Andy-B says:

    Well done Rev, on busting another unionist myth, you should open a section called myth busters. Are there no genuine facts from the unionist camp, except the fact they’re all liars, oh well at least they’re consistant.

  62. Alba4Eva says:

    Stunning piece of investigation.

    …I have noticed the maddened calls of; “we need more information… too many unanswered questions”, have abated quite a bit over the last couple of months. Ok, they have been replaced by fearmongering about everything under the sun, from ‘underpants will be too tight after independence’ to ‘attacks from intergalactic beings should we vote YES’

    …I guess we should accept some progress has been made. 😉

  63. Jimsie says:

    Peter A bell.3.45

    Another excellent post Peter. You and Stuart should team up.What a formidable pairing you would be.

  64. Peter Bell wrote: “A superb piece of analysis by Stu Campbell which totally destroys all the unionist scare stories about a “race to the bottom” on Corporation Tax.”

    Quoted for truth^


    This Corp tax canard has been a important weapon in the Unionist’s arsenal of fear bombs, and latterly the imperative in Miliband’s otherwise risible thesis.

    The evidence presented in this article dismantles it, and these data need to be disseminated widely and their lessons hammered home.

    Strike one for the good guys.

  65. Edward says:

    Just a thought
    We talk so much about how Labour have let down the people of Scotland. Which I agree that they have. I feel personally that Labour have never served the people properly and have never achieved the goals that the founders set out.

    You only have to look at the areas of depravation that exist in Scotland and have done for some time despite the vague promises at each and every election time.

    Time and time again elected Scottish MP’s of the Labour party have gone to Westminster and for all practical purposes have served their time looking after themselves, ignoring the very constituents that elected them. The final goal being to end up in the house of Lords.

    Now I’m not stating that every Labour MP sets out this path or has no intention of doing good. BUT the facts speak for themselves. You only have to look at Scotland’s industry and transport infrastructure over the last 100 or so years and compare with other countries, let alone the English south East. You also just need to consider the housing and the state of the housing, mainly in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire, to also see that its a disgrace.

    We now have the opportunity of instigating and enabling a fundamental change. This can only come about, first by Scotland ending the union, thereby terminating the control that London has over the Labour party in Scotland. Then by having all like minded people talking and agreeing upon a replacement of Labour, to a Labour party that is by the people of Scotland, serving and for the people of Scotland.

    What I have stated, may be obvious to some, but I think more work needs to be done in preparation for a Scotland that’s independent. What I don’t want to see on the 19th September, if Scotland votes Yes, is for us to wonder where we go from here as I do not actually expect the current political parties to fair very well, though I do expect to see some surprises, some expected, some not expected.

    The core of a future Labour or socialist party in Scotland will be ‘Labour for Indy’, as current structures within Labour in Scotland will, to say the least will be headless chickens

  66. Albalha says:

    This new fundraiser has just gone public, as it were, Mark Coburn a postman is cycling 1421 miles from Rome to Glasgow to raise cash for local Yes groups, you get to nominate which group you want your cash go to.

  67. Jamie Arriere says:

    Good work Arbroath 1320 – I only flit back & forth to this site while I’m working, so I hope someone else with more time can take up the cudgels.

    So it’s pretty clear there’s not really a race going on anywhere – and of course it’s pointless anyway as there are so many other business costs which should be considered altogether – the recent favourite in the UK is the creeping increases in Employer NI – as well as investment incentives, R&D etc

  68. Les Wilson says:

    I think on the 19th Sept everyone will be stunned,our Westminster MP’s are in a stick position and are quite likely to be prevented from voting in 2015,I think the UK will find a way, although it would be undemocratic as we will still be in the Union until May 2016.

    So they will have a bit time still to collect their wages while on garden leave. However, their time will be spent considering, that what they have done to Scotland during all this. Knowing WE WILL NOT WANT THEM, they will be looking for jobs, in rUK or Europe.

    As far as the existing worst of a kind, Holyrood MSP’s go, some will retire, some will have the brass neck to try and get re elected. Some will be in for a big shock trying that one!

  69. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Rev, I do hope you chucked your name in the hat for the Orwell Prize.

  70. Les Wilson says:

    Alex Salmond will be laughing his socks off, and saying to himself, well done lad!

  71. Jamie Arriere says:

    Spain v Portugal 2006-2014

    2006 Spain 35% Portugal 27.5%
    2007 Spain 32.5% Portugal 25%
    2008 Spain 30% Portugal 25%
    2009 Spain 30% Portugal 25%
    2010 Spain 30% Portugal 25%
    2011 Spain 30% Portugal 25%
    2012 Spain 30% Portugal 25%
    2013 Spain 30% Portugal 23%

    Any idea that large countries compete with tax rates of smaller neighbours is just, to use technical jargon, bollocks

  72. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Albalha 4.52

    Encourage local Yes groups to get engaged with this and use it to raise funds…

  73. Moreida Lord says:

    Another brilliant article Stu! I am a Wings addict. Thanks for debunking the myths and the lies and giving us all the information we need. You deserve a lot of praise and recognition of your stellar work!

  74. Kev says:

    Great work Stu, yet another myth debunked. But the importance placed by politicians on the rates of corporation tax is secondary to the actual amount of tax revenues raised, as the number of capital allowances available to reduce the tax liability is mind-boggling (in the UK at least) It would be interesting to see a cross-country comparison of corporation tax receipts (per head of population).

  75. Kev says:

    No idea why my post appeared in italics there, looked fine in preview!

  76. john king says:

    If those two idiots in the picture would learn from the master,
    Gordon Brown
    they wouldn’t need to wear body armour,
    that’s the secret guys,
    don’t make yourselves an easy target.

  77. mogabee says:

    So now we can cheerfully change that slogan behind Ed’s head to;

    New Politics

    Fresh out of Ideas…

  78. G H Graham says:

    Another way to look as this excellent analyis is this.

    Since each country has set its own corporate tax rate, intuitively it was set to suit that country’s entire income, expenses & debt. And it was set while completely ignoring what any of its neighbouring countries set theirs to.

    Thus they are mutually exclusive. They are set regardless of the size of a neghbouring country’s geography, population or economy.

    So, if the UK corporation tax rate is good for England , why is also good for Scotland with an economy & population about 1/10th that of England?

  79. ronnie anderson says:

    Was out Yesin today in Airdrie for a couple of hours,engadged a few older people on reasons for voting no.

    Sad to say there is a deficency of Omega 3 ( they dont like
    Salmond ).

    But on the upside,people are asking questions. Yes paper folding next week ( Al Jolson hands )ah fekit al go the full hog an blacken ma face,Mammy.

  80. Macart says:

    Oh that’s game, set and match on the corporation tax argument. Cracking piece of work Rev.

  81. Croompenstein says:

    @ronnie – I get that as well aboot Alex, I just say to them that Alex is mortal he will pop his clogs one day but Scotland will go on and us Scots will have control of her.

  82. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Glad I was able to help you out there Jamie, though to be honest the thanks should really go to Stu. After all it was Stu who did the hard work in the first place finding all the relevant information. ;P

  83. TheItalianJob says:

    Great article Stu. Wish this could be spread to all Sunday MSMs newspapers.

  84. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    One positive (among many) I can see coming out of the CBI fiasco goes as follows:-

    Next (and every) time another “Captain of Industry” bumps their gums for BT about the Indyref the first question to them (or to their messengers) is:

    “Is your business in the CBI?”

    Supplementary questions:-
    “Was it ever in the CBI?”
    “Do you, or have you ever, held a CBI-related position?”

  85. kishorncommando says:

    Apologies for an OT post here but I’m more used to forums.
    I spent a few days in Glasgow west end last week and didn’t see any YES posters, stickers, nothing. I was beginning to question my faith.
    In Inverness today and saw my first YES stall, happy days!
    Here was me thinking I was the only one on the planet with YES stickers on my car. Apparently there are a lot of fearties on the YES side who won’t “come out”, how can we tempt them ?

  86. Flower of Scotland says:

    @ronnie anderson

    The reason why some people don’t like Alex Salmond I that Scottish Labour blame him for everything! I have these people in my family. It’s unbelievable, but Labour are still so incensed that the SNP STOLE their Scottish Parliament that they CONTINUALLY blame Alex Salmond for everything now! My answer is that the SNP is a vehicle to get Independence then they can vote for their beloved Labour Party hopefully knowing that the SNP are more left than Labour! For goodness sake just vote YES!

  87. TheItalianJob says:

    @Ivan McKee at 5.24pm

    O/T Caught your presentation (over on a Bella article) at Kemnay village hall on the 22nd April for the economic case for Scotland. It was a Youtube clip (copied below for all) and I’v e seen a number of these presentations by you and even more important you are honest with the facts.

    I have spent 35 years working as an engineer in the oil & gas industry and when I graduated in 1981, I like a great number of engineers were drawn to Norway as they just did not have sufficient engineers to cope with their growing offshore oil and gas industry. I spent 6 years there in the 80’s and I am not surprised how they have gone through the stratosphere in economic terms as they managed their oil resources far better than we (the UK) did.

    As per the following announcement last week by the Norwegian mainly state owned oil company setting up to develop an oil field in the Scottish sector, if we only had the same.

    Norwegian Statoil is the world’s eleventh largest oil and gas company and the twenty-sixth largest company, regardless of industry, by profit in the world. The company has about 23,000 employees. As of 2013, the Government of Norway is the largest shareholder in Statoil with 67% of the shares, while the rest is public stock.

    Seven hundred new jobs have been confirmed by offshore firm Statoil after it selected a new UK North Sea head office in Aberdeen.

    The Prime Four business park base will be the operations centre for developing the Mariner field, creating 200 onshore and 500 offshore jobs.

    The Mariner field is about 150km (93 miles) east of Shetland.

    Statoil expects to start production from Mariner in 2017 and the field is expected to produce for 30 years.

    You’re too young to remember our Scottish oil company set up as BNOC, by the then Labour government in the late 70?s with HQ in Glasgow. It was then privatised as Britoil then sold off to BP by Maggie Thatcher. The idea was to have a Scottish oil company with a HQ in Glasgow. When BP bought them they pledged to keep the office in Glasgow, now long since gone along with the highly paid jobs. A great number of Britoil’s assets are now being currently developed west of Shetland by BP and other oil companies.

  88. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    @kishorncommando says:
    Apparently there are a lot of fearties on the YES side who won’t “come out”, how can we tempt them ?

    Everybody needs to get out there all the time with YES badges, wristbands, umbrellas etc., and stickers and posters in car and house windows.

    The mood is changing. I have been wearing my YES lapel badge for the past 2-3 months, and when I meet people now who I know have seen it before, there is a subtle new reaction.

    The first time they saw it a few months ago they maybe looked like they were surprised.

    This time it is more like recognition of a co-conspirator.

    It is about normalising YES, so everybody needs to show YES support as visibly as possible.

    People need to stop being fearties … there is no need to be afraid now …

  89. Chic McGregor says:

    But remember Stu, these countries all have pretty much freedom of movement between them. We are going to have border controls and an electric fence, so that would make it that much harder to maintain a difference in something like say corporation tax, errr wouldn’t it?

  90. Ali says:

    The only race to the bottom in the UK is between the Tories and the Labour party. One reason why so many people will be voting Yes and leaving them to it.

  91. Grouse Beater says:

    As far as I can make out from those I asked, (lots) no one understood what the hell Miliband was going on about.

    Pointless making a day trip to harangue the natives when you can’t even speak their language.

  92. Caroline Corfield says:

    Let me tell you about Britoil, when BP bought them, everybody who worked at the office in St. Vincent St, who had been a Britoil employee had a ‘special’ employee number on their payroll that made them easily identifiable when it came time to ‘rationalise’ the workforce, those ‘special’ people, having better pay and conditions from previously being employed by a state company, were the first to go every time. Those employees knew and they made sure everyone at BP knew they knew it. BP didn’t like the idea you could meet up at the coffee machines and bitch so there weren’t any, it didn’t work.

    There were no doors on most of the offices, because most people weren’t a high enough grade, you had to be a certain grade to get a bin and a higher grade to get a coat stand, it was unbelievable to me having worked in company that was once a Norwegian state company and had been recently bought by Schlumberger. How BP makes money I have no idea.

    BP sold their accountancy department to Arthur Andersen while I was working as a sub-contractor at the St. Vincent Street office, they had a fortnight to move to Aberdeen or lose their jobs. It was a standing joke that the only person who would eventually be directly employed by BP would be John Brown the CEO.

    The Christmas Dinner I attended was notable for the address of two disgruntled employees who stood on the stage after the official speeches and let rip into the whole set up. They handed in their resignations the following day.

    Everyone who wasn’t a technical assistant, computer operator or sub-contractor was non-Scots. It is a feature of the UK that the Scots are the graduate employees in London and the locals are the cleaners and vice versa in Glasgow. It’s how the Romans did it.

  93. Croompenstein says:

    I was arguing with my old man today I was saying about Ed coming up talking shite and running away without answering questions but he said that he saw Ed and JoLa on TV taking and answering questions! anyone see this?

  94. cirsium says:

    Rev, I do hope you chucked your name in the hat for the Orwell Prize.

    well said, Ian Brotherhood

  95. Robert Peffers says:

    @Dave: “Great stuff Stu – I wonder why ‘real’ journalists can’t find this information. Or do they just copy and paste from their press packs”?

    I can, perhaps, give you the answer to that question, Dave. In the Rosyth Dockyard Radar Base, (long before the advent of the computer age), we had a, “Crypto”, section. (That is a Cryptographic Section).

    This originally dealt with those punched paper tape type, “Ticker Tape”, style machines from the WWII era and the radio signals feeding them were encoded. Obviously the technology kept moving on and the machines could swap from paper tape to punched cards and typed pages.

    We used to keep a couple of machines coupled to communications radio receivers tuned to World Wide News Agencies, like Reuters. We thus got World Wide Agency News as it came on the scene. The speed of these reports getting onto the national newspapers was almost instant and often nearly word for word.

    Obviously copied verbatim from the news agencies. With computers it is even quicker and can even be automated to cut out the middleman. The so called Journalists can just sit there and cut & paste the agency copy to their respective publications. It is only to put their own bias upon a story they need to re-write pure news reports to include their own spin.

  96. Robert Peffers says:

    @Greg, “As a employee within a small business I’m concerned that they may decide to relocate if there is a major difference in corporation tax as they already have offices south of the border”

    Thing is, Greg, as Scotland will have an independent tax and treasury the same thing will apply as applies in every independent nation in the World. That is, ALL business’ that operates in different countries must have a Registered Head Office in each nation it does business in. This is to pay tax to that individual country. This can, of course, be no more than an accomodation address with a phone answeing service and a P.O Box Number. You can set up such an arrangement in the UK just now for as little as £9.99.
    Here’s just such a Googled random link : –

  97. MochaChoca says:

    The first time I heard the ‘race to the bottom’ pish my first thought was surely a country with inherent greatness of Britain wouldn’t have to drop their corp tax rate to compete with a country as inherantly rubbish as we are always told an Indy Scotland would be.

    Suppose the most accurate equivalent could be Ireland and UK (shared language, shared land border), no sign of UK trying to compete with the Irish!

  98. geeo says:

    This race to the bottom guff annoys me.
    Starbucks, vodafone, etc. How will an iScotland compete with the uk gov with that, pay them to base in Scotland ?
    Tax breaks for the rich,

  99. geeo says:

    Justified by? you got it, rich politicians willing to screw the poorest and most vulnerable in society to pay for it.

  100. Alexandra-M- says:

    Absolutely brilliant work here Stu! Fantastic.

  101. Morag says:

    What to say about Stu? Cometh the hour, cometh the man, I think. I only wish this sort of stuff was all over the Herald and the BBC, but it never will be.

    How has this talent been so unrecognised until now? I mean, I’m sure videogames need reviewing just the same as new productions at Covent Garden, but really? Indeed, someone would be well advised to snap him up and I don’t imagine he’ll be struggling for work when Wings has outlived its purpose or its ready funding – if it ever does.

    Now, though? If there’s one thing I’m sure about it’s that Stu is utterly incorruptible – at least at this time and on this issue. He would genuinely live on packet instant pasta with a pet rat in one pocket and see Scotland independent, than accept a lucrative contract to back off for the final run.

  102. CameronB says:

    Here is a useful site, IMO.

  103. Chic McGregor says:


    “In Westminster we need to wear the kevlar panels on our backs”

  104. BetterTogether says:

    This ‘us and them’ attitude scares me the most. When Scotland gets independence, what then? Who will we direct our inherent persecution-complex against? Ourselves? Sectarianism will rise exponentially. Scotland will destroy itself.

  105. AllyBally says:

    Now that is rac(e)ist.

  106. PloddingCyclist says:

    The data for the Slovak Republic is there in the tables
    (just cannot show as a chart). Slovak rate goes up Czech
    rate goes down, no race to the bottom there then.

    2006 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 24%
    2007 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 24%
    2008 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 21%
    2009 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 20%
    2010 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 19%
    2011 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 19%
    2012 Slovak Republic 19% Czech Republic 19%
    2013 Slovak Republic 23% Czech Republic 19%
    2014 Slovak Republic 22% Czech Republic 19%

  107. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Who will we direct our inherent persecution-complex against?”

    I don’t have one. What you do with yours is your own affair.

  108. CameronB says:

    What does that mean though in relation to the structure of each economy? What is the wider tax base? The last Labour government showed just how easy it is to generate taxes that are designed not to look like taxes.

  109. Maid_in_Scotland says:

    BetterTogether – you’re welcome to your views and most thinking people will accept it won’t all be rosy, but could you try to be just a teeny wee bit more POSITIVE. I take it you’re Scottish, so maybe you could start by helping to make your country a really great place to live instead of the hell-hole you obviously think it is at present, only held safely ‘thegither’ by the motherly hands of Britannia.

  110. PloddingCyclist says:

    If Ed was right then when the Czechs started to lower their headline rate then so should the Slovaks, they did not, in fact they did the opposite. This message is not about corporation tax at all, it is talking directly to labour supporters that an snp government will look after big business at the expense of the poor in our country, which he must know that is not true. Corporation tax is not even in the big three of tax raising, which are income tax,national insurance and vat.

  111. CameronB says:

    Thanks for clearing that up and I agree with your point. I was trying to suggest that looking at one tax, in isolation, is meaningless. In any case, the tax base is not the sole determinate of social policy.

    I think we are on the same page. 🙂

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top