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Tuesday, January 10, 2006


3 weeks ago I sent this email to David Cameron cc Annabelle Goldie
Dear Mr Cameron,
I see that in your vist to Scotland you have stated that you would be willing to support the Scottish Conservatives in a decision to use the income tax reduction option available to the Scottish Parliament.

I would be very interested to hear whether you would also support putting the same investment into a reduction of corporation tax in Scotland. This would require either an alteration to the Scotland Act, since corporation tax is a reserved matter, or for Westminster to pass this in the same way that heretofore Westminster would put alterations in Scots law into Westminster Bills.

I don't know if you are aware that reducing corporation tax is a major plank of SNP policy although they have expressed the opinion that Westminster would never allow it (this may be part of the attraction). You will almost certainly not be aware that I have tried, several times under the previous leader, to introduce a motion supporting a corporation tax reduction for debate at the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference.

Since Nicol Stephen has taken over & publicly committed himself to reducing business rates below the UK level & is unlikely to oppose increased powers for the Scottish Parliament I have considerable hope that this will, in time, be adopted.

The example of Ireland strongly suggests that reduced corporation tax would, together with a favourable regulatory regime, greatly encourage free market economic growth. Such success would, I think, be very popular & reflect well on the parties that supported it. A few years ago Reform did a survey of political opinion & found that while Scots are about 2 points to the "left" on most issues they were, by a large majority, of the opinion that business tax reduction would be an important ingredient of growth.

A Holyrood government which, under proportional representation, was able to achieve economic success by agreement among market free market orientated parties would also be a good example to the UK.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Neil Craig

(this was drafted before finding that my Enterprise motion was again not to be called or that the Lib Dems were expelling me)
I have just got back
Dear Mr Craig,

Thank you for writing to David Cameron – he’s asked me to thank you and to say that he appreciated what you had to say. Thank you for pointing out your blog too.
David Cameron has set up six policy groups to examine key areas of concern and challenges we face. These challenges are complex, interconnected and require serious long-term thinking; we want to make sure we get the solutions to these challenges right.

There are six policy groups, which includes social justice, national and international security, quality of life, improvement of public services, economic competitiveness and globalisation and global poverty. Each group will engage expertise from outside politics, and over the next 18 months carry out detailed work to identify all of the issues and relevant facts surrounding each challenge and look at creative ideas. They will not set party policy. But once that process is complete, the information they have gathered will be used to help inform a policy development process.

Many thanks again for writing.

Now lets be fair - I have no right, as a single private citizen, to expect the Tory party to make policy on the hoof purely on my say so & at least we know that the economy is the 4th of 6 items on their to do list. On the other hand isn't it reasonable to expect either the Central or Scottish party to have some opinions on the matter or to have something somebody has said on the subject to hand? What

I was really hoping for was to say that just as the Tories are leaving it up to the Scots party to decide on income tax cuts they wouldn't stand in the way of a corporation tax cut & am therefore not disappointed to find that there is, at least, no specific objection to it - it would seem likely that if the Scots Tories were to push firmly for this there would be no resistance.

There are almost certainly going to be some things in the next 18 months on which Mr Cameron will have to express an opinion.

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