My ideas paper for the Common Weal seems to have attracted some healthy attention, and I’ve just been catching up with the coverage. The National was sympathetic, both in general terms and in the coverage of the specific detail:
Report author Paul Spicker, a former Grampian chair of public policy at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and now an emeritus professor of the university, said the cost could be brought down by £325million through a 1960s-style “clawback” system using Holyrood’s new tax powers. He said: “If the Scottish Government tops up child benefit by enough, but counted the income as taxable, it wouldn’t leave anybody worse off because it wouldn’t take any money away. But it would be able to differentiate clearly between people on lower incomes and those on higher incomes … The idea was actually tried in the Sixties and called ‘clawback’ but it was very unpopular … If you use the tax system to take the money back instead, although it puzzles a lot of people, it means you only get one test that we all go through, which is the tax system.
The Scottish Express, not for some reason on line, was rather less impressed.
Scottish Tory welfare spokesman John Lamont said: “The suggestion from this lefty think tank harks back to a deeply unpopular tax system in the 1960s, and it is, quite frankly, ludicrous.”