Lord Forsyth urges full fiscal autonomy white paper

Lord Forsyth: White paper call. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL
Lord Forsyth: White paper call. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL
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FORMER Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has said the UK government should outline the pros and cons of devolving further fiscal powers to Scotland after the general election “revolution”.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, who served in the role during John Major’s government, said a white paper on full fiscal autonomy was needed in the wake of the SNP’s sweeping success at last week’s election in which the party won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats at Westminster.

The Conservative in me was full of joy for what David Cameron had achieved but the unionist is greatly dismayed.

Lord Forsyth

The Tory peer insisted the big advantage of an increase in powers would prevent SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon producing “fantasy manifestos” without raising the cash to pay for it.

Scots may also be less enthusiastic about independence if the potential damage to public services and beyond is demonstrated, Lord Forsyth told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

He said: “I think we have to recognise what happened in Scotland last Thursday was a revolution.

“The Conservative in me was full of joy for what David Cameron had achieved but the unionist is greatly dismayed.

“We used to say if the SNP won a majority in seats in Scotland then they could have independence.

“They got 50 per cent of the vote and 95 per cent of the seats and the reality is you have to respond to that and I think what the Government needs to do is produce a white paper which sets out how fiscal autonomy, devo-max, call it what you will, would work in practice so people are aware of the advantages and the disadvantages.

“The big advantage being Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP would not be able to produce fantasy manifestos that promise the earth without having the responsibility of raising the money to pay for it.”

Lord Forsyth said Labour’s pre-election suggestion of a constitutional convention was a “sensible suggestion”, adding that the different parts of the UK needed to be treated fairly.