Draft Budget 2014-15

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th December 2013.

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Photo of Jean Urquhart Jean Urquhart Independent

No, thanks.

The Prime Minister called for

“a leaner, more efficient state.”

From looking at the spending cuts and the desire for privatisation south of the border, we all know what he meant. Sooner or later, because of the way that the Barnett formula works, the Scottish Government could be forced to make decisions that it does not wish to make, including the possibility of cutting NHS Scotland’s budget. Such decisions will be the result of continuous cuts to the overall block grant. That is the reality, and it is generally accepted that those cuts will continue in Scotland next year and thereafter. There appears to be no willingness at Westminster to end austerity or to examine and enact change in the current relationship between the UK tax system and the UK benefit system. I sometimes think that the situation seems to favour the UK Government’s privatisation policies.

I believe that a fairer, redistributive tax system is crucial if we are to tackle the poverty that Scotland faces right now and will face in the future. That goal is not achievable under the current arrangements. As we know, Scotland is a wealthy country, but the Scottish Government simply has too little influence to make a real difference to people’s lives. Therefore, I truly believe that independence is the only way to deliver a positive future for the people who live and work in Scotland.