Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:12 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee 2:12 pm, 27th January 2011

On the models that I have seen, the reverse is the case, particularly at a time of public spending constraint. The point is that it will depend on changes over time-some years it will be up and some years it will be down. However, the proposals provide the potential for successful economic management to provide genuine benefit.

I would give more credibility to the SNP claims that the measures are inadequate to grow the Scottish economy if its record in government showed that it was using the powers it currently has in ways that will grow the Scottish economy, but it has not done that. We have seen a succession of populist consumer gimmicks; almost a complete collapse in public investment; and the slow strangulation of local autonomy. Local councils have less and less control and more and more centralised management through the freezing of council tax. There is effectively less flexibility across Scotland to gear responses to meet local needs.