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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12 Responses to “SNP push for full fiscal autonomy”

  1. swat

    Good; they’ve taken the bait and are well and truly skewered.
    The 2d part of the Tory plot is to get all the Tory MPs to abstain, in which case the Bill is passed, in which case Scots get full autonomy, and in which case they end up with huge shortfall and then the SNP have to make cuts and then in 4 years time the SNP are voted out of power.

  2. MariaJTorres

    nowRead this leftfootforward. ….. Here’s a Blog


  3. Frankie D.

    Why do you think the tories want that? Every SNP in power is a labour that isn’t.

  4. JoeDM

    Give them responsibility for their own tax and spending and no subsidies from the English tax payer.

  5. Scottish Scientist

    Entrepreneurs don’t have autonomy, fiscal or otherwise, in Scotland because no-one in Scotland gets out from under the misrule of the thin-skinned police state that will countenance no rival, competent leadership of the key economic institutions such as the Scottish universities, banks, legal system etc.

    Sure there is an argument that more could be done with full fiscal autonomy, if that included the powers for the Scottish government to manage a Scottish budget deficit, with agreed, limited borrowing and money printing powers.

    But when there is no academic freedom and no civil liberties and the police state in Scotland can smash down the doors of private enterprise to take away the means of production, then everything else the government might do with powers pales into insignificance.

    And when the Scottish political class including the SNP is subordinate to the independence of the costumed, jock-boot police state wherein macho managers can call police or lawyers to drive out the most talented Scots off the campus, the workplace or out of the country then everything else is secondary.

    Scotland is not a free country, meaning the citizens have no rights nor democratic freedoms but are subjected to tyranny, and until the Scottish government start addressing that number one problem the Scottish economy will flounder.

  6. Gary Scott

    I think you are a little confused. This was about fiscal autonomy rather than just your personal opinion of the Scottish Government. The party in power, just like any other, can be voted out.

    Your hatred of them has blinded you to the debate.

  7. Gary Scott

    Scotland is not subsidised. It is a net contributor.

  8. Gary Scott

    Both Tories and Labour combined, again, to vote against it. For some reason they really don’t want Scotland to leave the UK or have more autonomy.

  9. Gary Scott

    As a strategy it is very foolish to pursue. SNP took all but one of the LibDem seats as well as the Labour seats. If Labour was to vote with SNP on issues where Tory rebels were going to act, progressive politics could be pursued.

    I fear this won’t happen. The leadership has a pathological hatred for SNP which has baffled Scottish voters who may well have turned away from Labour partly for this reason.

    A new leader can bring a new conciliatory attitude where ‘the art of the possible’ can truly be exercised. The coming year could be the most important for Labour since it was founded.

  10. Scottish Scientist

    I’m for full fiscal autonomy. What part of –

    “Sure there is an argument that more could be done with full fiscal autonomy, if that included the powers for the Scottish government to manage a Scottish budget deficit, with agreed, limited borrowing and money printing powers.”

    – didn’t you understand?

    Whereas governments change, so long as elections are rigged by state control over broadcasting, the kingdom can ensure that only weak governments that will never dare to hold the state to account will be elected.

    I don’t hate the SNP government. I even voted for them and was very pleased to have an opportunity to vote “YES” for Scottish independence.

    But it is my duty to point out –

    a) what it will take to make FFA work, namely powers to manage a budget deficit by borrowing and new money printing

    b) FFA is not the be all and end all of running an economy because with or without FFA the UK police state in Scotland is granted all the independence needed to take a sledgehammer to the economy, wrecking the best efforts of essential economic leaders – scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors – arresting them or simply frustrating their efforts so they leave the country – or confiscating their equipment.

    There is an infinite capacity of the police state to keep on wrecking the economy the way they have always done under successive governments of all parties, not just the SNP but Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative too.

    The police state must be brought to heel otherwise economic opportunities will be lost and the country impoverished, with or without FFA.

  11. Frankie D.

    But then the SNP would show that scotland can be improved while still part of the UK, thus damaging their arguments for independence.

    Not to mention all the lies and shit the SNP got away with during the election, which is likely to have pissed off a lot of labour.

  12. gunnerbear

    If that’s the case then why are the Scots threatening to take HMG to court as HMG is cutting subsidies provided by English taxpayers to Scottish wind power. If Scotland were such a net contributor, it wouldn’t need English cash would it – it would fund the green power itself and not also demand access to cheaper English power when the wind doesn’t blow.

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