SNP submits full fiscal autonomy amendment to Scotland Bill
The SNP has submitted an amendment to the Scotland Bill that will allow the Scottish Parliament to introduce full fiscal autonomy.
The submission was made by Angus Robertson, the leader of the SNP’s 56-strong contingent of Westminster MPs, who said the move had been taken because the proposals for more devolved powers in the Bill’s current form “do not go far enough”.
As it stands, the current Bill includes plans for Holyrood to control income tax but full fiscal autonomy would give Holyrood the responsibility for all areas of tax and spending except defence and foreign affairs.
Mr Robertson said: “We are also seeking to amend the Scotland Bill to give the Scottish Parliament the ability to introduce full fiscal autonomy.”
Also commenting on the move, Scotland’s First Minister and SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our manifesto set out very clearly that we would want to move to full fiscal responsibility. Clearly that will take a number of years to implement.”
The move is likely to run into opposition from Prime Minister David Cameron who has said previously that he does not support full fiscal autonomy for Scotland and has warned that such a move would mean imposing £7bn of cuts or extra tax-raising north of the border.
Speaking in May, Mr Cameron said: “I’m going to keep the commitment I made to the people of Scotland. Let’s get that done first because it does create a really strong Scottish Parliament.
“Of course, if people want to make future proposals I’ll look at them.”
Addressing the issue of Westminster resistance, Mr Robertson added that he believed it should be up to the Scottish Parliament “if and when we move to greater financial autonomy”.
He added: “Tory and Labour politicians are working together once again to try and block meaningful additional powers for Scotland.
“In doing so they are also misrepresenting Scotland’s financial position.
“The IFS figures they cite suggest that Scotland would have a deficit of £7.6bn in 2015/16. But over the five years to 2013/14, the UK’s cumulative deficit has been worth over £600bn.”