Nicola Sturgeon plays down fiscal gap claims

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on a campaign walkabout in Portobello, Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on a campaign walkabout in Portobello, Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

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NICOLA Sturgeon has played down new analysis which projects that Scotland’s fiscal gap will increase over the next few years.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the gap could increase to more than £9 billion by 2019/20 - a higher figure than the £7.6 billion “black hole” for 2015/16.

The projection suggests that Scotland would still face a funding shortfall even under SNP plans to introduce full fiscal autonomy over several years rather than immediately.

Speaking during a campaign visit to Portobello, Edinburgh, where she was greeted by enthusiastic party activists, the SNP leader said: “These are academic projections for years ahead that presume we do nothing to grow our economy.

“What I want to do is have increased powers in Scotland so we grow our economy faster, we get more people into jobs, more people paying taxes and therefore raise our revenues, but the argument and the concern of people I speak to in this election is not some academic projections for years in the future - it’s about the cuts that Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems are proposing now, in this year, next year and the year after.”

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