Smoke and Mirrors – Westminster Draws a Constitutional Line in the Sand – Retribution Visited Upon Scotland For Having the Nerve to Try to Break Up What Is Laughably Called the Most Successful Union of Nations in History.
Westminster Unionist partys’ offer of devolution of limited fiscal powers to Scotland is driven by the dogma of doing just the minimum to keep Scotland in the UK, whilst reserving power to Westminster.
Preservation of the Ruth Davidson named “pocket money parliament” will be assured if Scots politicians allow themselves to be conned into accepting the proposals presently on offer. What we have is the illusion of a transfer of power with, pinned to it, a not so subtle £6billion reduction in the “Barnett Formula” financial allocation.
This will require the Scottish Government to find new sources of finance, (without borrowing money from the markets) so that existing benefits can be retained and new measures introduced providing assistance to those in need, (eg. removal of the bedroom tax). Income Tax rises would be a consequence, even for the Standard Rate taxpayer since Higher Rate taxpayers in Scotland are insufficient in number to bear the cost of any new financial requirements.
Scotland’s government will only be totally responsible when they have access and authority over all of Scotland’s resources and financial income, but Westminster will never willingly allow that since with absolute power retained by Westminster, solving problems in the Scottish economy through increased income tax and other personal taxes will only serve to make the Holyrood parliament very unpopular. This proven tactic of delegating responsibility without authority suits the Westminster agenda.
The “Unionist” partys’ are determined to impose their will, (no matter how long it takes) and Scotland will be asset stripped by stealth so that it becomes ever poorer and increasingly dependent on Westminster’s whims reducing the confidence of Scot’s in their ability to build, without Westminster’s benign governance, a better future for Scot’s as an equal partner within the United Kingdom.
Witnessed by their actions, in the months following the referendum it is clear Westminster remains to be in the business of building failure into any devolved powers instead of doing the right thing, identifying what has the best chance of succeeding and transferring relevant powers and authority to Scotland.
If Westminster is serious about creating a federal state then the truly radical approach would require a team of independent advisors to go away, investigate the construction and governance of successful multi-state countries eg Germany, then report back.
* The Barnett Formula. Should be retained until reductions are agreed between Westminster and devolved governments.
* Vat collection. Without the ability to vary rates needs to be addressed.
* The Scottish government should be able to raise and lower income tax.
* Multinationals operating out of Scotland, (Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, RBS, BOS, etc) should be liable for tax collection on their sales.
* Authority should be devolved allowing Scotland to gather taxes from Capital trusts etc. who may be practicing tax avoidance by registering in the Bahamas, Channel Isles etc.
* Corporation Tax and Air Passenger Duty, including variance authority should be devolved
* Oil, fuel taxation, excise duty (whisky) should be devolved.
Scottish fiscal autonomy, stopping short of full political independence, forming part of a federal or confederal constitution for the United Kingdom is the way forward. The Scottish Government would be responsible for all financial matters in Scotland, making payments to the UK government covering Scotland’s share of the cost of providing agreed specified UK-wide services, such as, defence and the conduct of foreign relations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_fiscal_autonomy_for_Scotland
https://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/blog/scotland-bill-is-not-more-power-delivered/ The Green Party view.