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Lib Dems call for SNP to set nationalist ideology aside in fiscal framework review

October 14, 2021 12:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Responding to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes calling for "powers and flexibilities" to be handed to Scotland in a forthcoming review of the fiscal framework, Scottish Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson John Ferry said:

"The review of the fiscal framework is an opportunity to enhance the devolution settlement to better serve the needs of Scotland, but unfortunately the SNP are using it as an opportunity to undermine the Smith agreement by the back door. The SNP has made it clear that it intends to use this review to break the existing devolution settlement.

"The UK and Scottish governments agreed in 2016 that the Fiscal Framework Agreement should be reviewed in 2022 and that this should be 'informed by an independent report with recommendations presented to both Governments by the end of 2021'. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy should be focused on getting that report done before jumping to what is, at best, ill-informed conclusions.

"The fiscal bonds that bind the UK together have protected Scotland's economy throughout the Covid crisis, and although there are clearly pragmatic changes that can be made around elements of the fiscal agreement that would be in Scotland's national interest, the SNP administration are signalling that that they are intent on yet another constitutional mud-slinging match.

"If the SNP administration could leave constitutional politics and grievance aside for once, and concentrate on Scotland's interest instead of the Nationalist interest, then this review will be an opportunity to improve budgeting arrangements for Scotland under the existing constitutional settlement.

"The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy must, on this occasion, leave aside her nationalist ideology so we can make that pragmatic progress in the interests of Scotland."