Under the devolution settlement, constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster. Under the devolution settlement, the economy is reserved to Westminster. The unionist coalition is adamant that the terms of the independence referendum should remain firmly within the control of Westminster. But the unionist parties, and the unions, lay the responsibility for the Scottish economy firmly upon the SNP government (your report, 21 September).
They cannot have it both ways. Subjected as we are to block grant funding, we are limited to the finite resources that emerge mainly from Westminster.
Currently, we are victims of UK-wide cuts necessary to reduce the deficit which 13 years of a Labour government bequeathed to us. In any event, the bulk of our funding is dedicated to running public services – the opportunity for capital regeneration is restricted to the public works items that existed prior to devolution.
When their spending plans were debated, the previous Labour-led coalitions at Holyrood challenged the then opposition parties to tell them which services they wished to cut in the event of any different preferred expenditure.
That is the challenge today. It is incongruous for Labour shadow finance spokesman Ken McIntosh to berate the SNP for cuts of 30,000 in the public sector workforce, when it was Labour that chose to “solve” the unemployment problem by recruiting ever more personnel paid for out of their borrowing.
I reckon there are a great many more such reductions in the pipeline if only to stop the rate of borrowing, never mind getting round to reducing the deficit. What suggestions does Mr McIntosh have for solving the problem?
Douglas R Mayer
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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