Boris’s Devo Max plan is a challenge for Mundell and Davidson

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By a Newsnet reporter

Scotland Office Minster David Mundell and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson have been challenged to say if they support calls by Mayor Boris Johnson for ‘devo-max’ financial powers for London. 

SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said the Tories needed to explain why the Conservatives were saying ‘yes’ to powers for London but ‘no’ to powers for Scotland.

By a Newsnet reporter

Scotland Office Minster David Mundell and Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson have been challenged to say if they support calls by Mayor Boris Johnson for ‘devo-max’ financial powers for London. 

SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said the Tories needed to explain why the Conservatives were saying ‘yes’ to powers for London but ‘no’ to powers for Scotland.

Unveiling his economic manifesto as part of his campaign to be re-elected on May 3, the Conservative mayor of the city announced that he would set up an inquiry into funding for London’s devolved assembly and lobby David Cameron and George Osborne to consider the case for London keeping a greater share of taxes raised within the city.  

Mr Johnson’s plans would see between £10 billion and £20 billion extra funding for London, equivalent to £2,500 for every Londoner.   The mayor wants to spend the cash on on health and education as well as transport, crime and housing.  

Mr Johnson said: “I want to make sure that London’s funding sources are put on a secure long-term footing, giving the Mayor and the people of London increased certainty.  It will examine whether it is time we should keep more of the taxes Londoners pay in London.”

Mr Johnson added that UK government ministers had been “very receptive” to his proposals.

SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said Mayor Johnson’s calls had added to the confusion around the position of the Scottish Tories – pointing out that they even failed to put in a submission to the UK Government’s referendum consultation, the only party not to.

Mr Hosie said:

“Boris Johnson has set the cat amongst the pigeons with his plans for devo-max for London.  The Tories now need to explain why they are saying ‘yes’ to powers for London and ‘no’ to powers for Scotland.

“We need clarity from David Mundell and Ruth Davidson who have, so far, been silent on where they stand.  The Scottish Tories could not even agree on a submission to their own government’s consultation on the referendum – the only party not to respond.

“So people in Scotland need to know – do they agree with Boris Johnson or is this yet further evidence that the Tories are planning to cut Scotland’s funding if the anti-independence parties get their desired No vote and maintain the constitutional status quo.

“Boris Johnson’s arguments for London are even stronger for Scotland – with the latest Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland figures (GERS) showing that, last year alone, Scotland was in a stronger financial position than the UK as a whole to the tune of nearly £2.7 billion – or £510 for every man, woman and child in Scotland.”