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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 06:28 GMT
Crawford backs fiscal autonomy
Robert Crawford
Mr Crawford backed "creative" business solutions
The former head of Scottish Enterprise has told BBC Scotland that fiscal autonomy could be a "good idea" for improving the Scottish economy.

Robert Crawford said the whole argument was a much broader issue than unionism versus nationalism.

Mr Crawford said economic growth could be improved if Scotland had more control over its finances.

And he defended the record of the enterprise agency, calling it a small cog in the wheel of the economy.

"I think if you can find mechanisms to use fiscal autonomy in creative ways, and I don't necessarily think that simply means by cutting business taxes or something else, then it seems to me it's a good idea," he told the BBC's Newsnight Scotland programme.

But he said that the Scottish National Party's desire to use fiscal autonomy to cut corporation tax would not go far enough.

And on the Conservatives' plan for cutting business rates for Scottish firms, he said there was no evidence that that would make any difference.

Rates issue

"The business rates thing in my view is a complete red herring, if you ask any business person, or indeed any individual, would they like to have their rates cut, council tax or something else, almost certainly they would say yes.

"The question is whether or not in cutting business rates you are likely to make a long-term difference to the competitiveness of the Scottish economy?

"Answer - there is no evidence that I've seen anywhere in the world that that makes a difference."

Mr Crawford announced he was standing down as chief executive of Scottish Enterprise in June last year to escape what he called the "goldfish bowl" of the public eye.


SEE ALSO:
SNP parliament power plea
04 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Tory leader cautious over tax
07 Oct 03  |  Scotland
Enterprise boss quits post
06 Jun 03  |  Scotland
SNP drops penny tax plan
15 Sep 02  |  Scotland


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