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British PM rules out full fiscal autonomy for Scotland



David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out full fiscal autonomy for Scotland on Friday after his first talks in Edinburgh since being re-elected but agreed to consider granting extra powers.

Cameron held talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose secessionist party won almost every Scottish seat in last week’s British parliamentary elections.

He agreed to implement in full the proposals of the cross-party Smith Commission on further devolution. That was established after the September independence referendum — in which Scots voted by 55 percent to 45 percent to remain part of the United Kingdom.

He also agreed to look at further devolution proposals from Sturgeon on business taxes, welfare and the minimum wage.

“I’m delivering on the commitment I made, which is that the Smith Commission report on further devolution will be implemented in full,” Cameron said after the meeting.

“It gives massive extra power to the Scottish parliament,” he said, adding: “I’m, of course, happy to consider other proposals”.

The Conservative leader added: “I don’t support full fiscal autonomy for Scotland.

“I think the idea of laying on to the Scottish people another £7 billion ($11 billion, 10 billion euros) of either spending cuts or tax increases, I don’t think that will be good for Scotland.”

Cameron said that after the commission proposals are implemented, Scotland would have control over 60 percent of its spending and be one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.

While Cameron’s centre-right party won enough seats to form a majority government in the UK, Sturgeon’s left-wing Scottish National Party made dramatic gains in the May 7 election and has a visceral dislike of the Conservatives.

Sturgeon said the meeting had been “constructive” even though the two were “worlds apart” politically and that she had pushed for further powers for Edinburgh.

“We’re talking about business taxes, employment legislation, the minimum wage and more powers over welfare,” she said.

“These are the key levers you need to grow the economy faster. As a priority, I want to see the Scottish Parliament able to exercise those powers on its own.”

The SNP chief added that she wanted Scotland to be given full fiscal autonomy at some point, but accepted it was not on the immediate horizon.

A bill granting more powers to Scotland is to be included in the May 27 Queen’s Speech, which sets out Cameron’s government’s legislative programme, indicating it is a priority for his second term in office.

Cameron on Friday ruled out another Scottish independence referendum, saying it was “not remotely on the cards”.

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1 Comment
  • I’m all for full fiscal autonomy right now, meaning with deficit spending powers, the power to create new money, (by printing or electronically) either as agreed with the rUK if we are sharing the same currency, or pegging our nominally independent currencies together at a 1-for-1 exchange rate, or, without agreement with the UK, having a floating Scottish pound.

    What I’m not keen on is a faux-“full” fiscal alleged-“autonomy” which deprives the Scottish government of deficit spending powers, because that would spin the Scottish economy into recession.

    What’s more to the point at this stage however, is it looks suspiciously like the SNP are not actually demanding full fiscal autonomy, are clinging onto mother UK’s coat-tails like grim death wailing “NO DETRIMENT TO SCOTLAND!”.

    So you know, if Sturgeon is not even asking for FFA then it matters not what anyone else thinks of FFA because Scots won’t get it in the teeth of her opposition.

    My satirical take on the relationship between PM Cameron and FM Sturgeon …

    PM David Cameron – “I am Cam. I am Cam. Cam-I-am.”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “That Cam-I-Am! That Cam-I-Am! I do not like that Cam-I-Am!”

    PM David Cameron – “Do you want a Scots fiscal plan?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “I do not want it, Cam-I-Am. I do not want a Scots fiscal plan”.

    PM David Cameron – “Would you want it here or there?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “I would not want it here or there. I would not want it anywhere! I do not want a Scots fiscal plan. I do not want it Cam-I-Am.”

    PM David Cameron – “Would SNP MPs in the House? Or would they rather act the mouse?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “SNP MPs are in the House but they’ve been told to act the mouse. I do not want it here or there. I do not want it anywhere. I do not want a Scots fiscal plan. I do not want it, Cam-I-Am.”

    PM David Cameron – “Will you send it to my inbox? Will you spend like Colin Fox?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “Not to your inbox. I’m not like Fox. SNP MPs will act the mouse. I do not want it here or there. I do not want it anywhere. I do not want a Scots fiscal plan. I do not want it, Cam-I-Am.”

    PM David Cameron – “You campaigned for it in a helicopter. You’ve won the election now here you are.”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “I would not, could not, in a helicopter. Nor in the First Minister’s official car”.

    PM David Cameron – “You may want it. You will see. If you don’t want it then might Swinney?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “I would not, could not, give it to Swinney. Money doesn’t grow on trees. You let me be!”

    PM David Cameron – “Would you let the Scottish pound float?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “I would not risk the markets’ gloat.”

    PM David Cameron – “Well what’s the point, you’ve come so far but now you’re sticking where you are?”

    FM Nicola Sturgeon – “The point is this, it’s still the same, the SNP need someone else to blame. So you keep power Cam-I-am and I’ll blame you for where I am.”

    Thanks to Dr Seuss for the inspiration!