Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Further Powers for Scotland?

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The Scotsman is reporting Labour is to push ahead with plans to hand Holyrood new tax-raising powers as evidence emerges that voters in England are becoming increasingly resentful of the share of public spending that comes to Scotland.

The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and written by Professor John Curtis of Strathclyde University, claims that 40% of people in England now believe that Scotland receives more than its fair share of UK resources (graphic above).

The UK government has asked HMRC to set up a panel of advisers to help with the "technical and practical implementations" of handing more tax powers to Scotland.

Liam Byrne the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, joined Jim Murphy to make the announcement.

"There are difficult decisions ahead," he said. "That is what a lot of people find troubling about the SNP's position. Too often, they want to paint the future as a never-never land where there aren't any difficult decisions about spending."

More lies. Each week at FMQs Alex Salmond mentions difficulties about spending. I've yet to find anyone who finds the SNP 'troubling', in fact on the contrary. Many people are happy with the way the SNP are governing Scotland (that distresses labour very much) and I think the idea that Scotland's future is described as never-never land by the SNP is a figment of Mr Byrne's imagination or electioneering spin. Perhaps a bit of both.

Not so long ago the Scottish government suggested HMRC could collect the Local Income Tax which is the option they wish to replace the Community Charge. The Treasury, if I recall, said it would not be possible. It becomes a different story when a General Election is in the offing.

The Scotsman article doesn't mention that this could be a Labour ploy to upset the SNP's plans for a referendum. After all, if they promise to give Scotland more powers, then the SNP would have only one question to ask: Independence Yes or No.

Lorraine Davidson, writing for the Times, makes no mention of Jim Murphy's announcement but concentrates on the IPPR report. (You will find a link to the PDF there as I can't seem to make one).

It would seem Scotland may get extra powers whether we wish them or not. Once again it's England calling the tune. This does show that devolution is not enough. We need to take responsibility of our own country and not tolerate another (however well-meaning) to be in charge.

Of course if the tories gain power at Westminster the subject of extra powers will disappear into the long grass.


Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The Scotsman has lots of articles - most come under the heading of trivia; a few reach the level of propaganda and the genuine, though not necessarily truthful, are called advertisements.

Robert said...

Hi Subrosa: I'm always confused when I hear that HMRC claim that they just couldn't collect and process the Scottish taxes separate from the rest of the UK yet we have it enshrined in the Scotland Act that we could vary the income tax by +/- 3% - they must have accepted that as a possibility at any time since the SP came into being.

subrosa said...

RA I daren't agree with you as the Scotsman could 'do something' about me using their photos on very odd occasions.

subrosa said...

Robert, that's why I protested when they refused to collect LIT. Then, once they'd realised they'd booed, labour then said it wasn't a 'community charge'.

Well said.

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