Yesterday [6th Jan] I raised, with the Secretary of State for Scotland, the issue of a fairer funding deal for Scotland.
During Scotland Question Time, the Secretary of State was unable to say whether he supported the ‘no detriment’ principal agreed by the Smith Commission, what he thought a fair financial deal would look like, or why – given his role – he was not attending the negotiations between the Scottish and UK governments.
The Scotland Bill currently making its way through parliament must come with a new financial framework to accompany it. The financial framework that was proposed was rejected by the House of Lords last year as they were not robust enough.
While Labour Councillors are repeating the same old mantra of SNP Bad, in Inverclyde, I am working hard at Westminster to ensure that we get the best deal for Scotland’s finances.
Currently the Secretary of State is unwilling to commit to the basic principal of ‘no detriment’ agreed by the Smith Commission. This means the Scottish Government should not be financially disadvantaged by the transfer of new powers.
Leading economists, academics, trade unions and many others have warned that Scotland could be worse off by hundreds of millions of pounds without a fair agreement on the fiscal framework accompanying the Scotland Bill.
The financial deal that goes with these extra powers must be fair and work for Scotland – these issues must be dealt with so we can make progress and deliver the powers laid out in the Scotland Bill.
It is crucial that the financial deal that goes alongside the extra powers is fair for Scotland and that real progress is made so the Scotland Bill can move forward and the powers promised to Scotland can finally be delivered.