SCOTLAND must receive “every penny” of additional funds raised as a result of a national insurance hike, an SNP MP has urged.
Alison Thewliss, who represents Glasgow Central, said her party was seeking “urgent” clarification from the Treasury over exactly how much Holyrood will receive if MPs vote through proposals to raise the level of tax by 1.25 per cent.
The measures, put forward by Boris Johnson last week, seek to raise £36bn in the first three years to fund improvements to the NHS and social care sectors in England.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will also receive additional funding through Barnett consequentials, with officials claiming they get as much as 15% more back than what their citizens have had to pay out in the extra levy.
Ms Thewliss, speaking on a debate on the plans today, said that the Conservatives had “taken back control” only to keep all the power for themselves “and their cronies” and explained: “ From the SNP benches we demand urgent clarity about every penny of Barnett consequentials that will be given to devolved administrations.”
She said her party were concerned that Westminster could attempt to claw back the additional funds from other areas, resulting in Scotland not actually receiving more money, and explained: “ It would be just like Government colleagues to give money with one hand while pinching money out of our back pocket with the other. The UK Government must give urgent assurances that we will get every penny we are due—as should Wales and Northern Ireland.”
The SNP’s finance spokeswoman said that there were other “major issues “with plans, describing them as a tax on low earners and on jobs, and accused ministers of having a “brass neck”, adding: “They howled when Scotland put money on income tax—a progressive system in which those at the wealthier end of things paid a little more into our system for our services in Scotland.
“They said it was terrible and awful, yet today there is not a peep out of them to complain about the lack of progressive taxation and the fact that Scotland will have to pay for England’s social care crisis, which is completely unjustifiable.”
Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West said the government had been too quick to announce the tax rise.
She said: “The government is not only breaking his promise to the electorate, it risks breaching the backbone of our economy.
“Instead of rushing us into this, the government could have taken time to have cross party discussions and come up with a proper detailed plan, which I believe would have had the support of everyone in this place, because everyone wants to see a good sound constructive plan for the National Health Service, and social care. Sadly, this is not it.”
She also cited evidence from industry bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses, which said the tax was like an “anchor on jobs” as employers will also have to pay a 1.25% increase on national insurance as well.