The Scotland Bill, if enacted, will leave the Scottish Parliament in control of only 30 per cent of Scotland’s tax revenues and of a mere 15 per cent of welfare. There are no plans whatsoever to give the Scottish Parliament full control over any of the big five taxes we could use to restructure our economy and make decent welfare provision.
Despite hearing Scottish Secretary David Mundell confirm that there is no guarantee that the Tories will not take back any top-up made to tax credits and other benefits thus leaving Holyrood hundreds of millions out of pocket but the victims no better off, Ian Murray and all the Labour MPs joined with the Tories and voted against devolving tax credits to the Scottish Parliament.
During the Scotland Bill debate the Labour deputy minister for Scotland, Wayne David, admitted that the Smith Commission/the Vow had not been delivered in full and in May’s general election 56 SNP MPs were elected on an “anti-austerity and more powers” ticket but Scotland’s voice has been completely ignored by Labour and Tory MPs at Westminster.
Labour will pay an even heavier price for siding with the Tories over the tax credits issue, if that is possible after only getting 196 votes and a poor fourth place in last week’s Aberdeenshire council by-election.
Warrender Park Road Edinburgh
Having built careers on blaming others, the Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney and his Nationalist colleagues at Holyrood are somewhat at a loss with the raft of new powers coming their way.
So looking for a new source of grievance, Mr Swinney delves into the realms of make-believe claiming that if the Scottish Government were to top up tax credits there is a risk the United Kingdom government led by Tory Prime Minister David Cameron could claw the money back.
Mr Swinney knows there is no possibility whatsoever that such a thing would ever happen, but creates a sound-bite with it in any case.
Once the new powers are in place Mr Swinney will have to do better than this if he is to retain his credibility.
West Linton, Peeblesshire