Scotland Bill - priority must be to oppose cuts

For immediate release 30 November 2010

Today's publication of the Westminster Coalition's Scotland Bill is the next stage in a flawed process which has been dominated by the interests of political parties rather than Scotland's people, Greens today argued.

However the Greens challenged the other parties to set out how they would use the powers in the Bill to ensure that Scottish politics is not dragged toward the Coalition's right wing agenda, and instead to help create a more equal society. (1)

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The Calman process, like the National Conversation, was a one-sided discussion with important options closed down and the public excluded. Both failed to live up to the participative ideals which the Scottish Constitutional Convention embodied.

"As a result, the new powers being proposed for Holyrood are not well designed to help us build a fairer and more sustainable Scotland. But however flawed these proposals are, each of Scotland's political parties should now say how they would use them, and how their vision for Scotland differs from the Westminster consensus.

"In particular, every party apart from the Greens is currently set to hand on Tory cuts instead of raising revenue. The Scotland Bill published today would give Holyrood more flexibility to vary income tax fairly. For too long, the electorate have been told that they can have European style public services but pay US levels of tax. This lie can no longer be tolerated.

"Greens will never accept the Tory cuts agenda, and will instead find the most progressive way to fund Scotland's vital public services. We will do this during this year's budget, during next year's election, and whether with the Calman powers or in an independent Scotland, we will continue to do so."

The tax powers are set out in Recommendation 3.1 on p111 of the final Calman report.