Wednesday, 10 June 2015

I see your bluff and raise you...SNP will push Cameron for Full Fiscal Autonomy

For the Daily Record

The SNP will next week demand full tax and spend powers for the Scottish parliament in a ploy to make the Tory government vote the devo max powers down.

SNP leader Angus Robertson last night confirmed the SNP will table amendments to the Scotland Bill for Full Fiscal Autonomy, which would give the Holyrood powers to raise and spend all its own money.

David Cameron had accused the SNP of bluffing for something they did not really want.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions Cameron said: “It seems to be that the SNP’s new approach is to demand something they don’t want and then to complain when they don’t get it.”

Experts have warned the devo-max policy would cause austerity-max and lead to the loss of £7.6 billion a year of Barnett funding from Westminster on top of cuts already coming down the tracks.

But in a game of Westminster brinkmanship the SNP will table the amendment to the Scotland Bill as it gets a detailed second reading on the floor of the Commons.

The nationalists will do so confident in the knowledge that the Tory majority in the Commons will vote the measure down.

The Prime Minister goaded SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson on the issue yesterday after he boasted the Scottish government had become a living wage employer.

Cameron said it was unlikely the Scottish Government could afford to pay the £7.85 an hour minimum rate if it got full fiscal autonomy.

Responding to the living wage accreditation, Cameron said : “The Scottish Government has the advantages of the additional funding it has been getting under this Government.

“I do notice that consensus in the SNP has rather broken down over full fiscal autonomy.

“Because of course, if they got full fiscal autonomy, they probably wouldn’t be able to afford to be a living wage employer.

“I have been following these things closely. The new MP for East Lothian (George Kerevan) has called the policy economic suicide, the new MP for Edinburgh East (Tommy Sheppard) has called full fiscal autonomy a disaster.

“It seems to be that the SNP’s new approach is to demand something they don’t want and then to complain when they don’t get it.”

The SNP want to see “full fiscal responsibility”, their version of FFA, introduced over a number of years with no sudden cut off of Barnett funding.

Depute Leader Stewart Hosie has confirmed that the SNP will now put in an amendment for a version of Home Rule one step from independence.

He said: "We will be putting in an amendment to achieve it full fiscal. It is just a matter of finding an acceptable form of words.

"We think we have found that but if not we will come back with a different form."

The decision comes after Hosie and Deputy First Minister John Swinney suggested that they would seek to just improve the Scotland Bill and then enter "negotiations for the rest of the powers" after the bill had been passed.

“They want to have their cake and eat everyone else’s” said a Downing Street source.

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