SNP push for full fiscal autonomy

But some in the party believe the proposals spell disaster

 

The SNP have brought forward an amendment to the Scotland Bill to provide full fiscal autonomy for Holyrood.

Whilst the party’s election manifesto called for the implementation of ‘full fiscal responsibility’, there has been a growing sense of late that the SNP’s heart simply was not in the policy. This is partly due to fears about the cuts that are likely to hit Scotland’s budget if the Barnett formula is removed.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has previously put the potential shortfall at around £8 billion.

Tommy Shepherd, the SNP MP for Edinburgh East, warned that losing the Barnett Formula as a result of full fiscal autonomy would be a ‘disaster’ for Scotland.

Meanwhile George Kerevan, the party’s MP for East Lothian has labelled the proposal ‘economic suicide’.

The amendment is a response to the Scotland Bill’s current provisions to hand the Scottish parliament and government powers over income tax. The SNP have always said that these do not go far enough, and that they do not respect the mandate they received at the General Election.

Commenting on the amendment, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP said:

“Scotland needs significant new powers over our economy, job creation, welfare, wages and living standards if we are to make the most of our nation’s potential. The proposals in the Scotland Bill do not go far enough.

“That is why the SNP has set out priority changes to the Scotland Bill to devolve responsibility for taxes, such as National Insurance, setting the minimum wage and protecting key parts of the welfare state.

“We are also seeking to amend the Scotland Bill to give the Scottish Parliament the ability to introduce full fiscal autonomy.”

He continued:

“Tory and Labour politicians are working together once again to try and block meaningful additional powers for Scotland. In doing so they are also misrepresenting Scotland’s financial position.

“Labour’s sole representative north of the border, Shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray has previously argued that “the worst-case scenario for Scotland” would be “the SNP asking for their top manifesto priority of full fiscal autonomy and a majority Conservative government delivering it.”

“I will defend Scotland night and day from any SNP plan to cut Scotland off from UK-wide taxation and spending with full fiscal autonomy.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter 

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