Paying the Piper



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Economic Theory

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A member of the Scottish Parliament offers a means to improve devolution which would reduce taxes and increase accountability

During Brian Monteith’s eight years as a member of the Scottish Parliament its ever-burgeoning kitty rose from £16 billion to £30 billion and so it dedicated its time to considering how best to spend, and spend – prompting Monteith to pose fundamental questions about taxation and democracy in Scotland.

Does the current system in Scotland make national and local government accountable? Is there a moral case for lower taxes? And, is home rule enough to achieve these goals – or is full independence required?

Monteith argues how the devolution settlement must be improved upon if it is to deliver greater accountability and lower taxes.

One of the Scottish Parliament’s more colourful and controversial members, Brian Monteith is used to swimming against the prevailing tide in Scottish politics.

He ran campaigns against devolution in 1979 and 1997 and worked for Teddy Taylor, Iain Sproat and Michael Forsyth. Elected to Holyrood in 1999, where he was Tory spokesman for education, culture and sport, and then finance, before becoming an independent member in 2005. For the last four years he has been convener of the parliament’s powerful Audit Committee and a regular commentator in the Scottish media. He was a contributing author to Scotland’s Ten Tomorrows published by Continuum last year.

‘Scots should wake up: Monteith is pointing the way back from extinction.’ Matthew Parris

2007, Published by Birlinn Ltd, ISBN 978 1 84158 587 1, 140pp, PB