Engagements

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 13 June 2013.

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Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

The idea that it is possible for this Government to argue that it will have a greater commitment to social justice under independence, when it has said that it will be tied to UK policies on welfare until 2020, is completely ridiculous. Independent experts have said that it would be impossible to get rid of the bedroom tax on day 1 of independence if we continued with the welfare position as advocated by the UK. It is nonsense on stilts and everyone but this lot—Scottish National Party members—knows it.

Many of us—maybe too many of us—remember a young nationalist rogue in Westminster, who was, when Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson announced a cut in corporation tax, expelled from the chamber for calling the budget “an obscenity”. Now, the all-too-rich irony is that the one thing that the First Minister wants control of—the one thing to which he holds firm and on which he will not shift—is corporation tax. In an independent Scotland, corporation tax would be 3p lower than whatever level the Tories set it at. The benefits? The First Minister reckons that there would be massive 0.07 per cent growth per year—and that is with a 3 per cent margin of error.

I ask again: what happened to that young man who believed in independence, and who now advocates “independence”?