AS reported in last week’s Sunday Herald, the SNP is backing calls for the UK Government to renegotiate its outdated tax treaty with Malawi - so that vital public services in one of the world's poorest countries are not starved of funding and a local MP is backing the moves.

The UK is the third largest investor in Malawi, behind Switzerland and South Africa, and the existing tax treaty is so out of date it does not even cover the taxing of TV-related goods.

Local MP for the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, Roger Mullin, is supportive of the campaign fronted by ActionAid and Malawian activists, which seeks to ensure UK companies pay their fair share of tax in Malawi.  The campaign is also being supported by the Scotland Malawi Partnership.

The Cowdenbeath area has strong Malawi links through the work of staff and pupils at Beath High School linking with schools in the African state.

Roger Mullin, a member of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, has raised this issue in the House of Commons twice within the last week.

Commenting, he said: “Scotland’s long and enduring relationship with Malawi stretches back over 150 years, and today thousands of individuals, communities and organisations in both countries are actively engaged in building up social, cultural and economic ties – indeed, every constituency in Scotland, including my own, has strong historical links with Malawi.

 “The UK tax treaty with Malawi was signed in 1955 when Malawi was under British colonial rule, and it limits the ability of the Malawi Government to collect tax revenue from UK firms that operate there, thereby preventing the country from raising money that it desperately needs to invest in the country’s infrastructure.”

Fife has many existing links with Malawi, from Dalgety Bay Friends of Engcongolweni to Fife College, and a number of schools that enjoy active two-way school-to-school links which inform and inspire generations of young Fifers to be good global citizens.