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SNP need to set out full impact of full fiscal autonomy plans

April 1, 2015 2:07 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called on the SNP to set out the full impact of its plans for full fiscal autonomy as its proposals descended into further confusion today.

In an interview with the BBC this morning, businessman and member of the SNP's Council of Economic Advisors Jim McColl warned that any implantation of the policy would need to be delayed to avoid substantial cuts to public services. Mr McColl also advocated an increase in borrowing in order to close the gap.

This is on top of the £180bn the SNP want to borrow already.

When asked on Monday's Daily Politics about the SNP's preferred start date for Full Fiscal Autonomy, deputy leader Stewart Hosie said he was "not talking about that today".

Authoritative figures from the Treasury published last week showed that full Fiscal Autonomy would mean £7bn every year in spending cuts in Scotland or extra borrowing just to make the sums add up. That is £40bn over a five year term.

Mr Rennie said:

"The SNP are all over the place on their flagship policy. Earlier this week their deputy leader didn't want to talk about it. Today Jim McColl has suggested they would delay the implementation but borrow even more to get their way of any shortfall.

"If Nicola Sturgeon is arguing for full fiscal autonomy she should set out the full impact of those plans.

"When the oil price crashed in the last six months there was no hit on the funding of Scotland's public services. This is because the broad shoulders of the UK mean we can bear the shock easier.

"Under the SNP's plan such a price drop would have been a devastating blow.

"People deserve to know what impact the SNP's economic proposals could have on the recovery achieved by Lib Dems in government. People don't want funding for their pensions in Scotland to be separated from the UK and put at the mercy of the oil markets."