SFE: More tax powers can boost competition of Scottish financial firms

Scottish Financial Enterprise, the industry body for financial services across Scotland, chief executive Owen Kelly says additional tax raising powers for the Scottish government could make the country a “very competitive” part of the UK while creating new business opportunities in the sector.

Kelly’s comments come after Scotland voted to remain part of the UK without the number of No votes outweighing the Yes campaign by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

SFE issued a statement this morning saying that the industry body was “looking forward” to discussing the additional powers put forward by Prime Minister David Cameron today.

“The major uncertainties that would have arisen with a Yes vote can now be put aside and we can concentrate our efforts on promoting Scotland as an international financial centre within the UK,” it said.

“Clearly there will be changes to the governance of Scotland but the currency and regulatory environment within which our industry has had so much success remains intact. We look forward to joining any discussions about increased powers for the Scottish Parliament.”

Speaking to BBC Scotland this morning Kelly, when asked if there were any particular powers the financial services industry would like to see pushed forward as part of Scotland’s additional powers, highlighted tax increases as a potential boost to competitiveness and business opportunities.

Prime minister David Cameron announced plans to begin working immediately on additional powers for Scotland as well as for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said: “I think some of the powers that have already been trailed around income tax I think do really allow ministers in the Scottish government and Scottish parliament to set some of the parameters within which Scotland can be a competitive environment within the UK.

“There is the opportunity for differentiation and for Scotland to carve out the position as a very competitive part of the UK. We think there are a lot of business opportunities in that.”

Kelly also added that a Yes vote would have led to some “big questions” for financial services firms based in Scotland. He added: “If we had a Yes vote there would have been some big questions but those have receded now and we can get on with doing what we do best which is competing internationally in a very competitive market.”