Will Scottish devolution review deliver fiscal powers?

The unionist parties in Scotland may have united in opposition to the SNP’s National Conversation but there still some stark differences between them on the way forward.

Witness Des Browne’s comments in the FT today:

“Rates of taxation across the UK are fixed in the Budget, and we use other
economic levers to assist other parts of the country which face distinct
challenges. We have historically, for example, invested more in our public
services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than we have in England as a
whole. That’s how we do it, and I candidly don’t see scope for differential
rates of taxation.” (Financial Times)

Now compare that to what Nicol Stephen said in this year’s Scottish Lib Dem manifesto:

I want to see a new system of fiscal federalism to increase
significantly the taxation powers of the Scottish Parliament in order
to improve accountability; increase transparency; encourage more
efficient allocation of resources; and allow the Scottish Parliament to
have its hands on the fiscal levers necessary to influence the
direction of the Scottish economy. This is an important agenda for
discussion during the term of the next Scottish Parliament. (Scottish Lib Dems)

How will the Lib/Lab/Con joint debate
resolve this issue? It’s worth noting that Browne appears to be taking
a harder line than Rhodri Morgan, who agreed to a review of Welsh
Assembly funding and finance as part of the One Wales coalition agreement. Will the Scottish Lib Dems settle for less than Plaid Cymru got?






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