Insidious Tory Attacks on Devolution

Westminster Control leads to cuts not cash.

The SNP today warns of the ever-growing Tory threat to devolution with the news that the Westminster government is again taking control of money in Scotland while bypassing both the democratically-elected Scottish Government and the scrutiny of the Scottish Parliament.

The latest blatant Tory project designed to shore up support for the failing union is a £150million fund – which they say sets aside £12.3m for projects in Scotland – to help community groups take over at-risk local facilities.

However, the SNP points out that the Barnett rules governing devolution funding state that the £12.3million Scottish share should be passed to the Scottish Government to decide on how it should be spent.

They also highlighted how Tory Westminster control of Scotland’s money before devolution lead to cuts and not extra cash, and how they have already slashed spending in England for local councils.

Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson (pictured), Convener of the Finance Committee at Holyrood, said:

“I’m all for empowering communities to help secure local facilities but this is less about that than it is an insidious and barely-disguised Tory assault on devolution.

“It also begs questions about where this public money will end up considering the scandal of how Covid contracts have ended up in their donors’ hands.

“Basically, it’s the thin edge of the wedge that will lead to the Tories taking control of even more of Scotland’s money and the cuts that follow that.

“We know that, back in 1997 more than 74% of Scots voted for the creation of the Scottish Parliament and we know the Tories, who were against it then, have spent the last two decades trying to destroy it.

“Boris Johnson says devolution has been a ‘disaster’ and Jacob Rees-Mogg says he wants to ‘undo’ it – so we know their grand plan.

“They have stripped powers away from Holyrood through Brexit and now they are again riding roughshod over the devolution settlement by deciding how money is being spend north of the border and cutting out Scotland’s democratically-elected Government.

“Rather than devolve resources to Scotland for us to decide our own priorities, money rightfully ours has been diverted into Levelling Up, Community Renewal and UK Shared Prosperity Funds.

“The fact is when the Tories had control of Scotland’s money before devolution they cut it to spend that money in their constituencies in the south east; and even now we see what Tory Westminster control of spending means for England’s councils – cuts not cash.

“The only way to protect Scotland from the Tories is through choosing independence in a post pandemic referendum when it is safe to do so.”