150 business leaders call for full fiscal responsibility



Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp
Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

An open letter published in a national Sunday newspaper has seen 150 leading businessmen and women call for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland.

In the letter, published in yesterday’s Sunday Herald, the company owners and job creators call for the transfer of meaningful economic powers to Scotland, followed by staged implementation of full fiscal responsibility.

The intervention came as Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election found support for Full Fiscal Autonomy at 53 per cent for to 33 per cent against.

The letter said: “For generations, fiscal transfers from Scotland to the rest of the UK have slowed investment in economic growth in Scotland. As a result Scotland’s economic productivity and participation are consistently low compared to equivalent small countries around the world.

“Extensive new powers – as close to federalism as possible – were promised to the people of Scotland by the No campaign during the referendum and, if implemented, would provide the Scottish Government with the powers required to generate strong and sustainable economic growth, create jobs and increase shared prosperity.

“We support a progression towards full fiscal responsibility, transferring meaningful economic powers to Scotland, and then a staged implementation of full fiscal responsibility (home rule).

“Full fiscal responsibility will free Scotland’s economy from Westminster’s centralised control, allowing the Scottish government to implement precisely tailored policies to help Scottish business compete in global markets, moving our economy closer to the higher levels of growth enjoyed by similar small to medium sized European nations.”

The letter goes on to state the transfer of powers north of the border should also come with increased devolution for other nations and regions of the UK.

“In the interests of all UK citizens, the process of moving away from centralised London control should start on May 7th,” it adds.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, founder and chief executive of Business for Scotland, which now has 3,850 members said the group’s membership had voted unanimously to support the moves towards devo-max offered by Westminster in the last few days of the referendum but that the latest letter had been drawn up as a response to Westminster parties now restarting a “financial scaremongering campaign”.

“Taxation and spending, or full fiscal responsibility (FFR), is an intrinsic and indistinguishable keystone of DevoMax. Without FFR in the mix you don’t have home rule, you have a constitutional fudge and the worst of both worlds, with Westminster controlling the key economic levers and a Scottish Parliament with one hand tied behind its back.

“The goal of full fiscal responsibility is to find the right balance between economic growth, social protection and deficit reduction. With full fiscal responsibility we can grow our economy at unprecedented rates.

“In contrast, Westminster’s ill-considered austerity consensus represents full financial irresponsibility.”

The full text of the letter can be read here