16 Mar 2015

Full Fiscal Madness

In March 2014, Nicola Sturgeon said that there would be £4 billion of cuts in Scotland if the Barnett formula is scrapped. That formula is the UK funding mechanism which gives Scotland a good deal from the UK. As a result Scotland gets back more than we put in. Nicola Sturgeon is right to warn of the £4 billion cut. But now ahead of the General Election she and the SNP say they want "full fiscal autonomy". They want to scrap the Barnett Formula and let Scotland keep all of the tax we raise. The problem is that we lose at least £4 billion per year and more. Full fiscal autonomy would mean huge cuts to public services. Our NHS is already creaking at the seams. How would we cope with fewer nurses and doctors? Our schools and teachers would be badly hit. Care services for the vulnerable and elderly which are already struggling to cope with SNP cuts would be decimated. It's economic madness and political folly. So at the UK General Election we have a clear choice between Labour's support for maintaining the Barnett Formula and the SNP’s full fiscal autonomy and the loss of that extra cash. It's ordinary families here and across Scotland who would have to foot the bill.