Greens challenge McColl on tax status


For immediate release 27 September 2011

Greens today questioned the appearance of Clyde Blowers Chairman Jim McColl before the Scotland Bill committee, arguing that his personal status as a tax exile in Monaco entirely undermines his legitimacy in arguing for lower rates of corporation tax for his Scottish businesses. Jim McColl has been widely reported as paying little or no UK income tax on his fortune, recently estimated at over £800m.*

Under questioning by Alison Johnstone MSP, a member of the Scotland Bill committee , Mr McColl admitted being resident in Monaco in terms of his personal taxes, and to paying less than he would if resident in the UK. Later in the same meeting, Mr McColl responded by calling for lower corporate tax rates as an alternative to measures to tackle tax avoidance.

Greens oppose any reduction in corporation tax at a time when funding for public services is being cut and continue to argue that the debate on business taxation should be recast to focus far more on incentives to change business practices, rather than just locations.**

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"I find it hard to take seriously an argument for lower business taxes from a man who has avoided paying his fair share in tax on the wealth he made from Scottish business activity. People much poorer than Jim McColl pay their income tax, and don’t have the option of running off to a Mediterranean tax haven. Tax may not be liked while we’re paying it, but it’s vital for a civilised society with decent public services.

“When wealthy people call for lower taxes, and go on to say that anti-avoidance measures should not be enforced, the self-interest is clear for all to see.

"We all want to see more jobs available in Scotland but cutting tax rates in an attempt to seduce flighty global businesses is not going to provide the sustainable local employment that we need. Greens want to see the Scottish Government doing far more to support and invest in small-scale entrepreneurs and young businesses."

* See articles here:

** See previous news item: