Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has commented on the diverging visions emerging as the Referendum Debate continues. In the week when many have been reflecting on the impact of Thatcherite policies on communities across Scotland, we have seen the debate on the future of Scotland begin to take shape.
“Here in Lanarkshire we know only too well the effects of having policies driven by a Prime Minister we did not vote for. Nowadays we have the Bedroom Tax instead of the Poll Tax, but the premise is the same – the Bedroom Tax is just another example of an unfair tax imposed on the people of Scotland by a Government they didn’t vote for.
“I believe that an independent Scotland would not only be fairer, but more prosperous as the recent report on Scotland’s Balance Sheet has proven. The report shows that Scotland is in a much better financial position than the UK. In each of the last 30 years, the amount of tax revenue generated per person in Scotland has been greater, and our estimated share of national debt takes up a smaller proportion of our economy. Over the last year our stronger fiscal position would have seen Scotland better off to the tune of £824 per person, or £4.4 billion in total, yet successive Westminster governments have made us the 4th most unequal society in the developed world!
“The current Westminster Chancellor has cut child benefit, child tax credits, working tax credits, housing benefit, council tax benefit, disability living allowance, employment and support allowance and child trust funds. The larger income tax personal allowances for pensioners are being withdrawn, whilst VAT and national insurance have been increased. This means that rather than benefit from our relative surplus, families in Scotland will be hit by £4.5 billion of benefit cuts in the five years to 2014, which is £2 billion more than the UK Government originally claimed.
“For some strange reason Labour have ruled out devolving Welfare to the Scottish Parliament, meaning that any future UK Government would still have the power to impose things such as the Bedroom Tax on Scotland whether we voted for it or not. The Labour Leader talks of a ‘something for nothing’ society, while our own First Minister reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to universal benefits at the recent STUC conference.
“We know the UK Government’s approach to public spending is having a negative effect on our economy, our public services and on the most vulnerable in our society. The more Labour align themselves with their Tory colleagues to campaign to remain in the union, the more I despair. The choice for 2014 is becoming clearer and clearer. Vote YES to make our own choices. Vote YES for a wealthier, fairer country.”
- Scotland’s Balance Sheet http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0041/00418420.pdf
- The Sheffield Hallam University report can be found at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/62050.aspx
- The full statistical publication can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GDP2012Q4
- Further information on Economy statistics within Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/statistics/browse/economy
- Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About
- ONS statistics are available at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Labour+Market
- GDP statistics are available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/GDP2012Q4
- Details of the recent poll on where decisions on tax and welfare affecting Scotland should be made were as follows
Yougov/SNP (Fieldwork: 20th-22nd March 2013)
Sample size: 1105 Scottish adults
Which government do you think should be responsible for all tax and spending decisions in Scotland, including tax revenues from oil and gas?
The UK government – 35
The Scottish government – 52
Don’t know – 13
Which government do you think would be best at deciding welfare and pensions policy for Scotland?
The UK government – 34
The Scottish government – 53
Don’t know – 13