Westminster debates moved in sign 14 February deadline won’t be reached
HOLYROOD funding talks remained deadlocked last night (8 February) after Scottish Government and UK treasury figures met with the intention of making progress towards a new settlement.
The meeting between Scottish finance minister John Swinney and treasury minister Greg Hands in Edinburgh was intended to move discussions on the ‘Fiscal Framework’, the funding arrangement under which new tax and spending powers would be devolved to Scotland.
However the continued inability of the two sides to reach a deal including a ‘no detriment’ policy, under which neither UK or Scottish governments lost funding in the long run, means that the 14 February deadline now looks likely to be breached.
“I am not going to set any barriers in the way of getting an agreement.” John Swinney
Quoted on the BBC Swinney said: “We are working very hard to try to secure an agreement but I don’t think we should underestimate the scale of the issues that we have to overcome to secure that agreement.
“We want a position whereby the tax payers in Scotland and tax payers in the rest of the UK are no better and no worse off as a consequence of the devolution of these responsibilities.”
He added: “I am not going to set any barriers in the way of getting an agreement. I am determined to get an agreement – but only one that is fair to Scotland.”
Debates on the Scotland Bill are being moved back at the Westminster parliament, a sign that the UK Government anticipates that negotiations will run past the Valentine’s day deadline.
The failure of negotiations to reach a settlement mutually acceptable to both governments would likely have a profound impact on the Scottish elections in May 2016, with discussions on policy making way for a renewed constitutional debate.
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Picture courtesy of Scottish Government