A widening divide

Joanne Walker and Chris Young look at the state of play in relation to devolution of tax in Scotland


The devolution of taxation powers to the Scottish Parliament has been an ongoing process, one that can be traced back to the foundations of the devolution settlement 20 years ago. Since its establishment in 1999, the Scottish Parliament has had the power to raise a proportion of the money that it spends through tax raising powers.

The very question of whether the Parliament should have that power was one that was put to the public in the devolution referendum of 1997, with overwhelming support.

Alongside existing forms of local taxation (council tax and business rates), the Scottish variable rate introduced an element of fiscal responsibility to the country’s devolution settlement.