Calman ‘Tory Trap’ will leave Scotland worse off

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First Minister Alex Salmond has described the plans by the ConDem coalition to introduce new tax powers in Scotland as a “Tory Trap” that will leave Scotland “worse off”.

Mr Salmond was responding to the publication of the Scotland bill by Lib Dem Secretary of State Michael Moore who yesterday announced a packge of new powers based on the Calman Commission.

Mr Moore claimed that the package “got the endorsement of most Scots at the last general election” and pointed out that the plans had the support of not just the UK ConDem coalition but the Scottish Labour party also.

The plans would see Scotland’s block grant reduced in line with a 10p cut in Scottish income tax.  The Scottish government would then add the income tax back on in order to make up the shortfall.  However the cuts to the grant would be estimated and critics have claimed that it could see the amount of money available to the Scottish government fall.

Speaking on Radio Scotland the First Minister claimed that the package, that included powers on airguns and speed limits, had defects that would need to be ironed out and that the proposals would be examined by a Holyrood committee.

Mr Salmond said that there was danger that the bill would be seen as an opportunity to cut Scottish spending and that problems had to be corrected in order to ensure the plans were good for Scotland.  However the First Minister stated that the real scrutiny would be provided next May by the Scottish people.

The SNP leader also claimed that had the proposals been in place over the last ten years that Scotland would have lost a staggering £8 billion in funding.  Mr Salmond repeated the calls for Full Fiscal Autonomy for Scotland and said that only with full fiscal powers could Scotland be better off.

Listen to Mr Salmond’s interview here: