Scottish Labour News



The Choice Facing Scotland

Introduction by Richard Leonard

September 2018

When Nicola Sturgeon launched her latest blueprint for Scottish independence she billed it as a ‘Growth Commission’, but in reality it is a cuts commission.

It offers a vision of Scotland that people do not want and cannot afford.

A vision of another decade ruined by needless austerity, with people living, surviving, struggling under the dogma of another deficit reduction plan.

The cuts commission claims to offer a “clear-sighted analysis of the prospectus for independence”. But it is a prospectus based on a hard decade of public spending contraction, and even deeper cuts than those implemented by George Osborne.

Proposing a separate Scotland seeking to use the pound informally is a recipe for instability and is the economics of dereliction.

This prospectus for independence is not built on sovereignty regained but on sovereignty lost: on interest rates, mortgage rates, inflation, and corporation tax policy.

And it is based on an economic model which relies heavily on foreign direct investment, large multinational corporations and labour market “flexicurity”.

That is not the sort of future the people of Scotland want.

We need now to stop dividing people on the basis of nationality and start uniting them on the basis of class, and only Labour is able to do that.

What you need to know

These plans mean another decade of austerity, leaving Scotland with a bigger budget deficit than any country in the OECD.

This report makes the case for ''flexicurity'' as a key tool to increase growth. But it would leave workers to the mercy of insecure employment, making it easier for bosses to hire and fire.

Yet the state would remain limited - merely supplying training opportunities rather than

taking a hands on approach to planning and managing our economy.

The blueprint proposes that Scotland informally retain Sterling immediately after independence, through a form of Sterlingisation.

Until there is a new Scottish currency Scotland would have no control of monetary policy and would be tied to the interest rates set by a Bank of England no longer responsible for Scotland.

Labour offers real change

There is a new choice in Scotland and it couldn't be clearer.

The dividing line is now between Labour’s plan to invest and build an economy that works for the many, not the few, or further austerity with the SNP and the Tories.

With a more progressive tax system, and making big businesses pay their fair share we will invest in collective provision for all.

Our plans provide a transformative £70 billion to invest in Scotland over ten years prioritising health, education, housing, and jobs.

We have a radical industrial strategy which puts full employment at its heart and uses government contracts to create good jobs.

Trade unions will have a central role to play in our new economy, not just defending their members, but using their members’ knowledge, skills and capacities to plan for the future.

What the experts say

It’s not just Labour that say the SNP’s plans for the Scottish economy would lead to even more austerity.

Experts from across academia, think tanks and the trade union movement have exposed the Nationalists’ plans to copy and paste George Osborne’s policies.

The experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies say that “...austerity would be extended under the Commission’s proposals” noting that “...keeping to an overall spending increase of just 0.5% a year would likely require cuts to many other public services.”

The highly respected Fraser of Allander Institute explains the uncertainty that would come with the SNP’s currency plans as: “Millions of contracts would have to be looked at, from car loans to mortgages; commercial transactions to Scotland’s inherited share of public sector debt.”

The Scottish TUC says there are “a number of issues in the report that send a worrying signal to workers” which they suggest is a direct result of ignoring trades unions from the commission’s work.

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