Scottish Government perfectly correct to reject current Fiscal Framework offer – STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith

February 23rd 2016

The General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Grahame Smith said:

“The Scottish Government is perfectly correct to reject the Fiscal Framework as currently proposed by the Westminster Government. We recognise that these negotiations have been difficult and that significant additional powers for the Parliament are an important prize.

“However there can be no doubt that the latest offer from Westminster, whilst guaranteeing ‘no detriment’ for a period, would begin to incrementally eat away at the Scottish budget thereafter and cause serious damage to it within a decade.

“UK ministers talk of Scotland having to accept a degree of risk in the devolution of tax powers. We do. This risk is implicit in the power to change tax rates and in the potential for Scotland's economy to grow at a different rate. What cannot however be accepted is a position in which detriment occurs when growth and tax rates remain the same. That was not how the ‘Vow’ was interpreted and it is not how we interpret the recommendations brought forward by the Smith Commission.

“Without key powers such as sharing control over levels of migration, it is highly unlikely that the Scottish population will grow at the same rate as that of the UK as a whole. We are also subjected to a highly centralised economy in which power and wealth gravitates towards London and the South East. It is therefore unfair to penalise the Scottish Parliament for factors which are beyond its control.

“The STUC’s core mission on this issue is to protect Barnett and with it public services in Scotland and we could not stand by while billions are potentially slashed from those services in future years.

“We call on David Cameron, even at this late hour, to relent and reach a settlement which is true to ‘no detriment’ and on Ruth Davidson to intervene to make Scotland’s case. If this is not forthcoming, the reputation of the Tories as the ‘nasty party’ of Scotland will be cemented for another generation."

ENDS

For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100

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