The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) say that full fiscal responsibility (FFR) would leave 5.3 million Scots with a ‘black hole’ of £7.6 billion in 2015/16.
Across the UK over the past 5 years, the Tories have made spending cuts of £38 billion for 64 million people, which averages to the same amount, £7.6 billion per year.
The population of the UK is 12 times that of Scotland, which means that FFR would mean austerity 12 times that imposed by the Tories. Over the past five years, Tory austerity has cost £120 per person per year. The loss of the Barnett Formula would cost £1,400 per person in 2015/16.
But this is only half the story.
The full cost of FFR would include our 1/12 share of the UK £75 billion deficit, £6.5 billion. This is another 10 times the Tory cuts.
The IFS say the full Scottish deficit for 2015/16 will be £14.1 billion, or 22 times Tory austerity: £2,600 for every man woman and child in Scotland.
Personally, I don’t think the SNP are serious about imposing this 22 times Tory austerity, which has been called austerity-max. It’s the SNP’s excuse for rejecting the Smith Commission and their justification for asking people to vote SNP in this General Election.
Justification? Can there really be any justification for seeking to deceive the people of Scotland in this way? The £14.1 billion deficit, Scotland would inherit under FFR, is more than Scotland’s NHS budget and nearly half the Scottish block grant.
But there is way it might happen: if the Tories won the election and then decided to offer Nicola Sturgeon what she has been asking for. What would she do then?
Which do you prefer, Labour’s Vow+, which is the Smith Commission plus the power to vary pensions, child benefit and full control of housing benefit, or the SNP’s Full Fiscal Responsibility?
Vote Labour on Thursday May 7.