Jim O’Neill puts Nicola Sturgeon’s finance minister in the spotlight for a shoddy approach to budgeting, and calls for sensible policies on locally sourced food for school meals to be rolled out across Scotland.
You would hope that the person who has been put in charge of the nation’s finances would have some grasp of the implications of his decisions, and be able to explain why he constructed his budget in the way he had. Derek Mackay, the new Finance Minister appointed by the First Minister to replace John Swinney, clearly takes a different view of government economics.
When challenged by the Finance Committee recently to bring forward the evidence that cutting Air Passenger Duty would benefit Scotland’s economy, he was forced to admit that neither he, nor John Swinney, had instructed any research into the impact of this change. So, we have a central part of the SNP manifesto, on which they were re-elected last year, based only on a whim, rather like the replacement of Council Tax by a local income tax.
Even more concern was caused when he responded to an earlier request by the same committee, when investigating the Budget Bill, about the structure of the budget by saying “it felt right”. I’m sorry Mr Mackay, but it doesn’t feel right to those local communities who are affected by the further cuts in local authority budgets you forced through using the SNP Stepford Wives with the collusion of the always bribable Greens.
The comment on Air Passenger Duty was made while the Finance Committee was beginning to look into his Air Departure (Scotland) Bill. The question arose after Mr Mackay invited the Committee to agree to the Bill and he would fill in the details after it had been passed. That is a bit like going to the bank for a mortgage and agreeing to the mortgage without being told the costs. None of us would sign up to that. Mr Mackay was sent homewards to think again and to come back with the results of an investigation into his proposal. That’s 1 – 0 for the Finance Committee, showing much more scrutiny that the nodding donkey committees of the last Parliament.
In another context, the First Minister said at First Minister’s Questions that “the last thing a government or a First Minister needs to happen is to be flying blind by not knowing what is happening”. Well, First Minister, it would seem that the pilot of your financial plane is doing just that. Just remember who put him in place when your budget starts to unravel.
It would seem that some Scottish Health Boards are spending as little as 94p per person per meal, and that both they and many Scots local authorities are sourcing their food from as far afield as Thailand, attracted by government purchasing guidelines. When I served as a councillor on East Ayrshire Council, the then Labour-controlled authority introduced a policy, first piloted in Hurlford Primary, of sourcing all their food from local farmers. This meant first that the council taxpayers pounds were being spent locally, second that the food was all fresh when it was procured, and finally that the quality of the food we offered to our children was assured. The immediate result was a substantial uptake in school meals, which has been sustained under subsequent councils led both by Labour and the SNP.
It has always amazed me that this example has not been copied by more councils in Scotland, since we have a fairly large mixed farming industry that can supply most foods needed for school meals from meat to potatoes and from sweetcorn to apples. Maybe the Scottish Government could help this local spending approach by amending the purchasing rules to encourage local purchasing, and even considering subsidy support for farmers involved in this trade? After all, after Brexit we will not be covered by the stringent EU purchasing laws and, even if we start now, any case against us will not be concluded by the time we leave!
Finally, I cannot close without making comment about the passing of former Provost of Kilmarnock and Loudoun, Andrew Nisbet. Andrew had lived to the ripe old age of 103, but even on his 100th birthday, he was giving advice and guidance to all who would listen. Andrew sat next to me, on the far left of the council horseshoe, during my first term as a councillor from 1984-88. He was Immediate Past Provost at that time and it is safe to say that he taught me everything about being a councillor. He helped me avoid many of the pitfalls of being a “newbie” and I have continued my public life using the values and principles that he taught me. Farewell, old comrade!
22 thoughts on “Flying blind”
“You would hope that the person who has been put in charge of the nation’s finances would have some grasp of the implications of his decisions, and be able to explain why he constructed his budget in the way he had”
I think what people grasp is the fact that no matter what was in or out of the budget no matter how it was presented no matter when this would be Labour’s response. SNP budget bad.
“When challenged by the Finance Committee recently to bring forward the evidence that cutting Air Passenger Duty would benefit Scotland’s economy, he was forced to admit that neither he, nor John Swinney, had instructed any research into the impact of this change.”
Except that’s another one of your deliberate and stupid bare faced lies Jim Bob.
“Even more concern was caused when he responded to an earlier request by the same committee, when investigating the Budget Bill, about the structure of the budget by saying “it felt right”. I’m sorry Mr Mackay, but it doesn’t feel right to those local communities who are affected by the further cuts in local authority budgets ”
The Scottish Government doesn’t cut local budgets Jim Bob Local authorities do that. labour authorities who are cutting their budgets are doing so while simultaneously underspending. That’s what doesn’t feel right to local communities Jim Bob.
“The comment on Air Passenger Duty was made while the Finance Committee was beginning to look into his Air Departure (Scotland) Bill. The question arose after Mr Mackay invited the Committee to agree to the Bill and he would fill in the details after it had been passed.”
Except as Ive proved above you stupidly lied about this point.
“It would seem that some Scottish Health Boards are spending as little as 94p per person per meal, and that both they and many Scots local authorities are sourcing their food from as far afield as Thailand, attracted by government purchasing guidelines.”
And we’re back to trying to blame the Central Government for the choices made by local LABOUR councils.
“It has always amazed me that this example has not been copied by more councils in Scotland,”
A question that you should be directing at your local authority comrades and not including within another badly written and worthless SNP BAD rant.
“Maybe the Scottish Government could help this local spending approach by amending the purchasing rules to encourage local purchasing”
Ah so now your FOR centralising power. You want the central Government to control local spending? I too think that’s a good idea but only for Labour wards because clearly as you so often point out they cant be trusted to run a grocery shop let alone a council.
Another gem of gibbering worthless pish wind and shite Jim Bob.
As Speaker Bercow would say, “Calm down, man, you’ll do yourself an injury” In case you hadn’t noticed, the last time you accused me of lying, you got the year and the Party wrong. It was a 2016 comment by the A&S Herald about the SNP budget! Lol
So you’re unable to deny you lied what a shocker. Jim Bob I accuse of lying under every article you write because you write nothing but lies and it isn’t difficult to provide the evidence of it either because yer lying is childishly stupid.
Yer a gibbering corrupt self serving wee party political apparatchik unwilling to acknowledge any truth that doesn’t fit a Labour party narrative.
I love you too, Mike
Its not love Jim Bob its the infatuation a masochist has for their abuser.
More like Labour yet again ‘Lying Blind’!
It’s like all you have left is to lie and lie big, in the hope that this helps hold on the the ever dwindling number of ‘low information voters’ that still vote Labour.
It’s people like you Jim, who are destroying Labour in Scotland. If you can’t make a political argument out of telling the truth then be quiet.
Which part of this do you consider to be a lie, Patrick?
“It was a 2016 comment by the A&S Herald about the SNP budget! Lol”
So you admit you do nothing but repeat labour fed media propaganda. Jesus Jim Bob your confessions are unnecessary nobody takes you’re gibbering drivel as factual.
EH? You were the one who referred to it Mike
Where was that Jim Bob?
On Ben MacKinlay’s blog
Lies – who are you trying to kid Duncan !! just an article or two back you put out a comment claiming about every institution in Scotland was in a worse state than are in the rest of the UK, because of the SNP.
Tell me how many “Scottish” hospitals have needed the red cross in to help them out in the past year.
You and Jim still don’t get it, no one believes either of you, or the rest of labour can tell the truth.
Labour have told so many lies and told them consistently, that I am tempted to dismiss anything you say on any matter.
I know you are desperate to see Labour fortunes turned around Duncan, so read this opening sentence copy it and make every MSP/MP pin it on their office wall, failing that, just use pedantic arguments to ridicule my point and go on doing the same thing that has been destroying your party for years.
I will however show you the sentence that made me roll my eyes, as it is a classic New Labour campaigning strategy, so perfected by Thatcher then Blair Governments, that is: telling the electorate what has happened AND telling them why it happened (the second part being where the lies are told)
McKay did not make policy on a ‘whim’ as Jim fine well knows and we all know that during the ‘fight’ to have air passenger duty policy devolved to Scotland, the biggest part of the SNP argument was the boost to Scottish Airports/Scottish tax income.
The constant attempt by labour to paint the SNP as not caring about Scotland, just reinforces the fact that Labour in Scotland genuinely does not care about Scotland, and is focused purely on what is best for the Westminster Parties political Agenda.
I saw how angry you have been about JC intervention on the second referendum question today Duncan and understand your frustration that the Westminster party is running rough shod over S-labours/ Kezia Dugdales stated position, well that feeling you have about your party is the same feeling I and most other YES voters feel about our nation.
“So, we have a central part of the SNP manifesto, on which they were re-elected last year, based only on a whim, rather like the replacement of Council Tax by a local income tax.”
What can be said that hasn’t been said before?
Well, we’ve had Ruthless, the Gruffalo of Holyrood leaders, riding nowhere on a stationery tank.
Then she mounted a poor defenceless buffalo, which nearly buckled under the weight of her electoral expectations.
But now she has mounted a donkey, in the shape of Scottish Labour, hoping this dumb creature will take her to her goal—-which is back to a centralized British State. All singing, all dancing, all powerful, run by the Tories in London, for the Tories in London.
We were promised a “near to federal Scotland as you can get”, “modern Home Rule” , “Lets call it Devo Max”etc—-all this within a Holyrood Parliament safeguarded for all time.
Well it doesn’t look so guaranteed now, does it?
But the Scottish Labour donkey will plod on, with Ruthie on its back, Unionist/British Nationalist to its bitter end—“No Matter What” as Kezia quaintly puts it.
Jim, you can whine all you want about funding, but if your Tory pals get their way, you aint seen nothing yet!
I did notice the Finance Minister has had no worthwhile public support for his budget from the FM. Is it because they did not see the business rebate fiasco coming. Maybe they cant say mutch because the rebellion was led by Alec Salmond. Where did the money come from . Jim is not lying about the Finance Secretaries comment.
“On Ben MacKinlay’s blog”
Oh look Jim Bob you lied yer worthless wee arse off again.
The budget will increase by the 3% increase in the council tax.”
Look Jim Bob you lied yer worthless wee arse off again.
Seems I wasn’t wrong about you lying at all Jim Bob.
This is not the article you referenced on the young fella’s blog. But then admitting you got something wrong is not in your DNA
I accused you of lying and I wasn’t wrong Jim Bob. Even when I mix up the references I’m always confident I will find that you still lied when I get to the correct one because that’s all you are. A gibbering idiot who lies because you think its your duty to a mafia posing as a political party.
Its beyond contemptible.
No reference by me or you to East Ayrshire
Mike glad to see you did not hold back. But do your own thing like ask where did the extra cash for local authorities came from. Or where did the extra money for the business rates come from
They’re planning to raise the council tax by 3%. Read the article.
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