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English resentment increases over Scots ‘freebies’

Paul Nuttall: There needs to be a re-balancing of power. Picture: Getty

Paul Nuttall: There needs to be a re-balancing of power. Picture: Getty

  • by SCOTT MACNAB
 

DEMANDS for an English parliament are growing amid widespread resentment south of the Border over Scottish-only “freebies” such as prescription charges, Ukip has warned.

It says a shift in the political balance of power is needed, even after a referendum No vote, to appease English concerns.

A poll has suggested 54 per cent of English people believe it is time England had its own parliament.

Ukip deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: “People are increasingly fed up with the Scots getting free prescriptions and university tuition fees and their MPs voting on laws that only apply to England.”

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In the YouGov poll for the Economic and Social Research Council, 61 per cent thought Scotland got more than its fair share of public spending, while 62 per cent considered it was wrong that Scottish MPs could vote on laws affecting health and education, which are among the subjects devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

“The majority want a new English parliament dealing with English matters,” Mr Nuttall said. “It is plainly unfair that both Scottish and Welsh MPs can vote on English-only legislation but English MPs can have no say in Scotland and Wales.

“There clearly needs to a re-balancing of power – and sooner rather than later,”

Eddie Bone, from the Campaign for an English Parliament, said “English resentment” was being openly expressed across the country on issues such as higher public spending in Scotland.

“If and when the Scots ‘bottle it’ on 18 September and vote no, they will see a stronger English voice because the people of England have had enough of Scottish self-indulgence,” he said.

Yes campaigners have already voiced concerns that Scotland’s budget could be in Westminster’s “crosshairs” and face a reduction in the event of a No vote.

Public spending in Scotland is about £1,300 a head higher than the UK average, and the SNP has said that about £4 billion would be cut from the Scottish budget if the spending-per-head totals were equalised.

Canon Kenyon Wright, one of the architects of Scottish devolution, warned last week that the Scottish Parliament could be “undermined” after a No vote and that cuts under the Barnett formula funding system, affecting the NHS and social security, could be undertaken as an act of “revenge”.

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