UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Let the Corporations be unleashed?

News that the leaderships of the UK’s devolved nations met to discuss their commonalities over a cup of tea in Edinburgh has been rather benignly reported in most of the media at a UK level: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/mobile/uk-scotland-13597189

They welcomed the UK government's commitment to a respect agenda in its dealings with the devolved administrations. They said they were willing to work with the coalition government at Westminster on the basis of good communication, co-operation and mutual respect. But they warned that the agenda of respect had to deliver results on the issues of greatest concern to voters, including economic growth.

In the regional media however more attention has been given to the blatant disagreements rather than the bland . That last sentence in the previous paragraph gives the game away. Peter Robinson from Northern Ireland objected in the strongest possible terms to the SNP attempt to jump on the bandwagon of regional control (or devolved nation control) of corporation tax .

For the Northern Ireland first minister, this control is seen as being essential to competing for jobs with its neighbour to the south, where low corporation tax is portrayed as the main driver for inward investment .

Alex Salmond is not to be out done however. Alex wants control of Scottish corporation tax to be in Scotland . This is because Alex believes that lower corporation tax can be the driver of economic development in Scotland.

It would seem that the belief in the myth of the Celtic tiger will live on long after the collapse of the Irish economy. There is no doubt that a belief in lower corporation tax has become part of the fundamental unshakeable dogma of Irish government, but in reality there is little evidence that it contributed to anything other that the development of a branch economy in which companies camped for a few years. It certainly did not lead to major re industrialisation . For further critique of the Irish corporation tax situation see http://www.progressive-economy.ie/2011/04/corporate-tax-rate.html

In making the Isle of Man their economic model of choice it would seem that Peter and Alex are chasing shadows rather than substance .