The publication of Scotland’s annual accounts, which show the SNP’s full fiscal autonomy plan to scrap Barnett would have cost Scotland more than £4 billion last year, confirm only Scottish Labour can credibly claim to be the anti-austerity party, Jim Murphy said today.
Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS), published today , confirms that the SNP’s General Election plan for full fiscal autonomy would mean “austerity max” -; scrapping the Barnett formula, resulting in big cuts to the budgets for the NHS and schools, as well an end to the UK-wide pensions system.
Replacing the Barnett formula would have cost £4 billion to Scotland in 2013/14, or more than £800 per person. It can only get worse as the collapse in oil prices hits revenues even further. Analysis by the Scottish Affairs Select Committee shows the loss to Scotland would be around £6.5 billion this year.
Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy said that the Tories plan to take public spending back to the levels of the 1930s, and the SNP plans for full fiscal autonomy would impose cuts never before seen in Scotland. Only Scottish Labour offers a plan that rejects failed austerity policies.
Earlier this year Alex Salmond said the SNP will be campaigning on a platform of full fiscal autonomy within the UK -; which means all taxes that are raised in Scotland stay here. Nicola Sturgeon later agreed with Mr Salmond.
The consequence of full fiscal autonomy is that the Barnett formula, which has resulted in higher and more stable public spending in Scotland, would be scrapped to be replaced by a reliance on volatile and plummeting oil revenues.
The figures published today, which cover 2013/14, show that oil revenue fell by 24% to just £3.996 billion. This left Scotland with a fiscal deficit of 8.1%, higher than the 5.6% deficit of the UK as a whole. Today this deficit is filled by higher public spending in Scotland through the Barnett formula.