FMQs: Labour attack SNP plans for fiscal control

Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE SNP yesterday faced calls at Holyrood to scrap its plan for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland as falling global oil prices continue to hit the Scottish economy.

Labour published its own oil report which suggested that the global oil price would have to hit an unprecedented level of $200 a barrel for the SNP fiscal plans to add up.

Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Thousands of oil workers and their families deserve to know what assessment their government has made of the long-term future of the North Sea industry.

“The SNP should immediately publish an updated oil and gas bulletin that reflects the collapse in oil price.

“The fact that there would need to be an oil price of over $200 to balance the books under full fiscal autonomy shows what a farce the SNP’s policy is.”

She added: “This is less about North Sea oil and more about the SNP’s snake oil. For the sake of Scotland’s schools and hospitals the SNP should abandon their disastrous plan for full fiscal autonomy.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie also questioned the SNP’s position on full fiscal autonomy.

He asked Deputy First Minister John Swinney to explain SNP MP Tommy Sheppard’s description of the policy as “a disaster”, arguing that the party had been playing “hokey cokey” and “pass the parcel”.

Mr Rennie said: “On full fiscal autonomy the SNP, to be frank, have been all over the place.

“It was in the manifesto, then out, then back in again, now its MPs say ‘let someone else decide’.

“It started as the hokey cokey and it has ended as pass the parcel.

“It’s no wonder considering the £7.6 billion price tag. Shouldn’t the Deputy First Minister just admit his full fiscal autonomy plans would be a disaster and would be a silly thing to do?”

Mr Swinney said: “What Tommy Sheppard was doing was explaining the approach that the government set out in its manifesto where we made clear that the delivery of full fiscal autonomy would have to take place over time.”

A spokesman for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the health of Scotland’s oil industry is unrelated to the SNP’s push for full fiscal autonomy.

He said: “The Scottish economy is about much, much more than oil and gas – it is a very diverse and varied economy.