Prime Minister (Meetings)

Part of First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 13th November 2008.

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Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party 12:00 pm, 13th November 2008

We should all accept that there are severe difficulties in the financial sector, and, incidentally, that some of its practices will have to change substantially in the new environment. However, I deprecate people who regard the problem as particularly affecting the Scottish financial sector, because that is simply untrue, for two reasons. First, Scotland has outstanding financial institutions that are pursuing their business through the economic downturn and the financial crisis, and they are doing so exceptionally well. Secondly, the difficulties that are affecting the clearing banks have affected banks throughout the world. The situation is not specific to any one bank, and it certainly is not specific to Scotland.

As to whether the council tax freeze is enough, no, it is probably not enough, but at least it is a good start for the people of Scotland. It is a good start because council tax increased by 40 per cent under the Conservative party from 1992 and increased by another 60 per cent under the Labour Party from 1997. One reason why the council tax is hated is that it is unfair; another reason is that, between the Labour and Conservative parties, it doubled in the space of very few years. Is the council tax freeze enough? No, but it is a lot better than the record of the Labour and Conservative parties.