Thursday, 21 June 2007

No taxation without representation

Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's Nationalist education minister, is planning to spend Taxes raised from England on Scottish school children.

How? Because taxes raised in the UK go in a common pot and are then divided out unevenly in favour of Scotland.

The Scottish parliament can spend their own money on what they like - and if that goes to reduce infant class sizes, or student grants, then fine.

But did they ever hear of the phrase “No taxation without representation”?

Blair Gibbs, of the Taxpayers' Alliance pointed out:

"Sooner or later the Government is going to have to explain why it is OK for SNP ministers in Holyrood to make pledges on public spending with money raised from English taxpayers.

"Voters north of the border are within their rights to want more local control but fairness means not asking someone else to pay for it. English taxpayers once again see the SNP avoiding the logic of their own independence objective. You can't go your own way if you don't pay your own way."

Joel Barnet, who created the formula, is calling for it to be scrapped, as it comes under intense and increasing political scrutiny because the disparity between public spending in Scotland and England is now more than £1,500 per head. This is threatens to create a public backlash in England.

A YouGov opinion poll indicated 70% of English voters now believe Scotland is being "subsidised" by the rest of the UK and things should be balanced. By contrast, 74% of Scots want to keep the money rolling in just as it is. Why would you be surprised?

Defenders of the current system (the 74%?) say cutting Scotland's share of funds from central government could severely damage the country because there public spending forms a much larger part of the economy than in the rest of the UK – well it would form a larger part wouldn’t it, because they can afford it having an extra "subsidy of more than £11 billion a year.

The disparity is funding artificially inflated levels of Scottish public spending, among the highest in Europe.

On top of that there is also the minor matter of Scottish MPs being able to vote in Parliament on purely English matters - that will not impact on their own electorate.

In this respect they are effectively unelected and unaccountable by and to, those they govern - This is not democracy.

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