SNP should give up the grievance and start governing – Baillie

Scottish Labour has called on the SNP government to give up the grievance and start governing, following the final House of Commons vote on the Scotland Bill last night.

The Bill means major new tax and welfare powers are heading to Holyrood – including the power to restore any money lost to working families through George Osborne’s planned cuts to tax credits. Now that both the Scottish and UK governments agree the new powers can be used for tax credits, Scottish Labour today said that technical discussions should begin now on achieving this, in advance of the Scottish budget.

Scottish Labour has set out a plan to restore the money lost through George Osborne’s tax credit cuts for working families in Scotland. This would be funded by making different choices on tax from the SNP and Tory Governments. Scottish Labour would not implement the SNP’s planned £250 million cut to Air Passenger Duty and would not implement the Tory Government’s planned increase in the threshold for those paying the higher rate of income tax.

In the days following Scottish Labour’s announcement the SNP Government repeatedly refused to acknowledge the new powers that would make restoring money lost through tax credits possible. However last week in the Scottish Parliament Nicola Sturgeon finally accepted the powers exist, but refused to set out any detailed plans or guarantee that working families will receive the same entitlement as they do now.

Scottish Labour’s Public Services and Wealth Creation Spokesperson Jackie Baillie said:

“With the delivery of the Smith Commission the onus is now on every political party in Scotland to set out what they would do with these major new powers heading our way. We are at the start of a new era of responsibility in Holyrood, where the people of Scotland will no longer tolerate those who refuse to say how they would use the powers the Scottish Parliament has to transform the lives of families here.

Now that the Scotland Bill has made its way through the Commons the time has come for the SNP Government to give up the grievance and start governing. The Scottish and UK Governments should begin technical discussions about using the new powers to restore any money lost through tax credits.

Politics is all about choices. How a government chooses to spend its budget determines its priorities. The SNP Government want to use the new powers on a £250 million plan to make airline tickets a bit cheaper. John Swinney has said he can’t yet find the money to help working families, but he can guarantee £250 million to cut the price of an airline ticket. Scottish Labour think that’s not the right priority, so we would use that funding instead to restore the money lost through tax credit cuts to working families. We will fight George Osborne’s planned cuts all the way, but if he does not see sense then Scottish Labour will act to protect working families.

The SNP have been all over the place on tax credits. First they told us the Scottish Parliament wouldn’t have the power to act and in any event it would be too expensive to help working families. Then they admitted that wasn’t true but wouldn’t tell us whether working families would be entitled to the same support as they are now. It’s an utter shambles.”

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26 thoughts on “SNP should give up the grievance and start governing – Baillie

  1. Labour had the chance to show solidarity with the people of Scotland and stand side by side asking for devolving of Tax Credits to Scotland to protect them.

    Labour voted against it……

    all that need to be said really

    1. The SNP know themselves that you can’t devolve tax credits alone unless you are prepared to devolve all of out-of-work and income-based benefits too. That would entail of a level of tax revenues and spending to Scotland that takes us into Full Fiscal uutonomy territory. This is just nonsense

      1. Tax credits are dependant on certain clear criteria. Changes to your entitlement regarding other benefits are easy to evidence.
        Tax Credits therefore can be (and are) treated as a separate benefit which can only be claimed in addition to other benefits when strict criteria are met and is altered independently of other benefits.

        There is abbsolutely no need to devolve other benefits.

        this is a smokescreen to hide labours betrayal of hardworking , underpaid scots. It is also unbelievably short sighted as the could have voted for it safe in the knowledge their tory friends would kill it off anyway

        1. To be clear, your argument is that Labour actually back the cuts in tax credits that we are pledged to reverse? An odd world you inhabit.

          1. Nice attempt at misrepresentation….

            devolution of tax credits to the Scottish parliament would have killed of the cuts in a single stroke – regardless of who would be in power in 2016.
            To have tax credits under Scottish cobtrol and then pass on the Tory cuts would be political death for the SNP or Labour – at a stroke the problem would have been solved as additional funds to deliver and administrate Tax credits would be transferred to Scotland under Smith and Barnett.

            Labour, in voting with the Tories against devolving Tax Credits means Scotland is now condemned to either carry the cuts or find the funds from a reduced block grant.

            The party of devolution has ensured the devolved power and attendant financing needed to protect hard working never comes to scotland…well done Labour

          2. “additional funds to deliver and administrate Tax credits would be transferred to Scotland”

            In what universe? You think if Parliament had voted for tax credits to be devolved we would have magically got more money to pay for them?

  2. Regarding the Scotland Bill. It’s all about making life difficult for the SNP, punishing the 50% who voted for them (& those who didn’t).

    I’m afraid Scottish Labour will pay a heavy price for supporting the Tories, once again, against devolving tax credits in May.

  3. “additional funds to deliver and administrate Tax credits would be transferred to Scotland”

    In what universe? You think if Parliament had voted for tax credits to be devolved we would have magically got more money to pay for them?”

    Funny – the reply button seems to have disappeared from your post Duncan.

    Directly from the command paper on devolution of benefits (UK govt.)

    For expenditure to be devolved which currently falls within Departmental
    Expenditure Limits (DEL), the block grant in year one would be increased by the amount of
    spending on that benefit/service in Scotland at that point

    need to keep up Duncan – this is a political blog site therefore you need to be aware of the political outpourings of the UK Government – this is a basic error.

    Since you do not disagree with any other part of the post – it stands

    1. In case you hadn’t noticed, the UK government is cutting expenditure on tax credits. That being the whole point of their policy. It is the cut expenditure that would be transferred, not the previous level! Talk about understanding basic politics!

      As for “Since you do not disagree with any other part of the post – it stands” – how old are you? 5?

      1. Err no.

        They may be an attempt to cur the overall expenditure but the funds are still transferred – it is plain to see in the command paper.

        My age is irrelevant…try sticking to the contents of the discussion, rather than attempting personal remarks.

        1. You’re beyond logic. Your argument is laughable. The funds transferred would be the cut funds, not the funds before the cut. Ludicrous to argue otherwise.

          1. “The funds transferred would be the cut funds, not the funds before the cut.

            never said that it would be the funds before the cut – in fact I merely took a direct lift from a parliamentary document.

            Now, at least , you admit there would be a transfer of funds (cut or not), which makes your earlier line of reasoning faulty.
            Labour therefore voted against a real transfer of additional funds and administrative costs to pay for Scotland’s pro-rata share of Tax credits – allowing is to use this money and top up if we are able – well done Labour, a true blow for the working class

            Thanks

  4. “No, NOT “additional funds”. The SAME funds. Stop lying.”

    How can the same funds be transfered?

    we do not have control of tax credits at the moment, nor the administration of tax credits, this is a reserved matter and the funds for it do not reach the DEL for the Scottish Government.

    When powers are devolved, under the Scotland Bill the funds for those services will also be devolved to the Scottish Government and available under the DEL. Since this did not appear under DEL before and is in addition to existing devolved budgets this means the funds administered previously by Westminster will be transferred to the Scottish Government plus the administrative savings made by devolving said service.
    The overall budget will remain the same (DEL plus AME Plus reserved spending, the funds will just shift budget lines)

    This is clearly laid out in the command papers for devolution.

    Surprised you don’t seem up to speed on it and resort to short soundbites

    (again the reply button has disappeared)

    1. You are now agreeing that it’s the same funds! (And what administrative savings?)

      1. Soundbite again – nice try

        The current SG DEL budget is around £30bn (money the SG can spend on devolved matters.

        Tax credits are estimated at around £500m

        Had Tax credits been devolved £500m would be transferred from the reserved budget (money the SG has no access to) to the DEL (Money the SG can spend)

        DEL would therefore be £30bn + £500m (an additional £500m the SG can now access)

        Thanks to Labour and their tory friends the SG budget will remain at the previous £30bn (- reductions due to austerity) Tax credit money will remain reserved – the SG cannot access any of it and any top ups must come from the DEL at the expense of other devolved budgets.

        Fairly obvious really

        Cost of administrating tax credits is borne by Westminster. Devolving that area results in the administration being taken over from Westminster – saving them money. obvious again

        1. Tax credits are estimated at around £500m? By whom? The *cuts* to tax credits alone are planned to save over £5 billion a year across the UK, around £450 million a year in Scotland. Are you confusing these two figures? You are arguing for the complete devolution of tax credits, not just the devolution of the part that has been cut! Maybe you should check what the figure is. It isn’t £500m.

          And Westminster would still be administering tax credits…

          1. “Tax credits are estimated at around £500m?”

            we were talking about devolution of tax credits and from my comment

            “DEL would therefore be £30bn + £500m (an additional £500m the SG can now access)”

            it is obvious I’m not talking about the UK figure.
            A point you well know when you said

            “around £450 million a year in Scotland.” which, funnily enough, is around £500m.

            Next we have your “point”

            “You are arguing for the complete devolution of tax credits, not just the devolution of the part that has been cut!”
            – well done, that’s what the SNP requested and what Labour and their Tory pals voted against.

            “And Westminster would still be administering tax credits…”

            Not if they were completely devolved as requested by the SNP. Labour – with their Tory chums ensured that won’t happen.

            Which is precisely the point. If you’re going to contest the points made – try not to agree with them

          2. Read it again. “You are arguing for the complete devolution of tax credits, not just the devolution of the part that has been cut.”

            Your £500m figure only covers the part that has been cut.

            Do better.

  5. “Your £500m figure only covers the part that has been cut.

    Do better.”

    I will….

    this is great news….

    I hadn’t realised just how good the SNP’s idea was.

    Total tax credits sped is £30bn UK wide and since Scotland has a higher than population share the Scottish budget comes in around £3bn share of the £30bn

    Devolution of the whole of tax credits would swell the SG DEL from £30bn to £33bn
    alowing scope for change, efficiency savings and more than enough reoom to mitigate cuts

    and Labour threw it all away and joined in with the Tories…

    Thanks for correcting my mistake. Instead of an additional £500m we would have and an additional £3bn.

    Labour voting to ensure that this money isn’t transferred looks like an absolute vote winner – I’ll tell as many people as I can

    you’re a star

    1. Well done on realising your mistake. But you have a very odd view of the world. The £3bn would need to be spent ON TAX CREDITS! There’s no “room to mitigate” anything, unless you;re suggesting the SNP would cut tax credits even further than the Tories? It would be the SAME money, being administered separately, and you somehow think it will cost LESS? Surreal.

      1. MMmmm try this

        option 1. Labour ensured tax credits would not be devolved – SG budget £30bn, any mitigation has to come from this budget and has to be removed from othe budget lines

        Option 2. Tax credits are devolved as the SNP requested.
        DEL is increased to £33bn – and control over the form and application of tax credits – mitigation now comes from a much bigger pot and Scotland has the flexibility to organise tax credits as it suits itself. Cuts will be passed on but removed from the additional £3bn – not the £30bn which will remain untouched.
        Administration costs are now less for the UK government as they are now taken over by the Scottish Government – therefore the savings in admin cost to the UK is passed on to cover the Admin cost at the Scottish end as per the command papaers

        1. Genuinely surreal. That £3bn is required to give people the *reduced* tac credits they are entitled to. “Mitigation now comes from a much bigger pot” makes zero sense. This is the money people are paid in tax credits. It’s not new money to choose how to spend – unless you are suggesting the Scottish Government might cut more than the UK government, in which case I’m appalled.

          1. misrepresentation again.

            That £3bn is required to give people the *reduced* tac credits they are entitled to.

            agreed

            “Mitigation now comes from a much bigger pot” makes zero sense. ”

            pot 1. not devolved £30bn

            pot 2. devolved £33bn

            Which pot is bigger?

            cuts to tax credits have to be taken out of both pots….which one has more scope?

            “It’s not new money to choose how to spend –”

            err the DEL is what the SG chooses to spend if it’s bigger by £3bn it’s new money.

            ” unless you are suggesting the Scottish Government might cut more than the UK government, in which case I’m appalled.”

            faux outrage and lack of imagination Could there be other ways we could use to alter the tax credit system? make it more efficient, better distrbuted? or is going along with the tory cuts all Labour can think about?

          2. “Could there be other ways we could use to alter the tax credit system? make it more efficient, better distributed?”

            Oh I SEE! You DO want to cut tax credits more than the Tories. Right.

  6. Conveniently the reply button disappears again,

    you stated
    “Could there be other ways we could use to alter the tax credit system? make it more efficient, better distributed?”

    “Oh I SEE! You DO want to cut tax credits more than the Tories. Right.”

    Misrepresentation again – nowhere did I mention the word cut and it says a lot about your mindset that a comment to use £3bn more creatively to alter the tax system for better distribution automatically triggers the only solution in your mind as “cuts” – this shows a lack of creativity and imagination.

    I also see you are avoiding the tricky question of which represents the bigger pot of money

    pot 1. not devolved £30bn

    pot 2. devolved £33bn

    Which pot is bigger?

    and also the question

    “cuts to tax credits have to be taken out of both pots….which one has more scope?” (for mitigation of cuts)

    I must again thank you for pointing out the headline figure…

    I thought , erroneously that Labour voted to stop the SG having an additional £500m by devolving working tax credits, it was so kind of you to point out Labour voted with their Tory friends to deny the Scottish Government £3bn.

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