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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Scottish Labour's sums 'simply don't make sense'

Scottish Labour have shown that they cannot be trusted with Scotland’s finances or Scotland’s NHS after cursory scrutiny saw their spending claims fall apart, say the SNP. Despite claiming that a mansion tax would generate £1.2 billion across the whole of the UK, Labour in Scotland have claimed that they expect to see £250 million come to Scotland from the policy – more than 20 per cent of the total revenue raised.

The amount of additional funds transferred to Scotland under the Barnett Formula would depend on what proportion of this sum was spent on devolved areas – but even if £1.2 billion was spent in full on devolved areas Scotland would receive far less than the £250 million Labour in Scotland has claimed.

Meanwhile Labour’s promise of recruiting additional nurses has been described as a welcome desire to follow the SNP’s lead. Since the SNP took office, the number of whole time equivalent (WTE) qualified nurses and midwives in Scotland has increased by around 1,700.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP said: "Labour may have a new leader in Scotland, but it seems that their policies remain as nonsensical as ever. While Labour’s desire to follow the SNP’s lead in recruiting more nurses is welcome, their sums simply don’t make sense. Even if every penny of the money Labour expects a mansion tax to generate was eligible for Barnett consequentials, it would see Scotland gain far less than what Jim Murphy is claiming. All Jim Murphy is showing with these ridiculous figures is that he cannot be trusted with Scotland’s finances or Scotland’s NHS."

"Since the SNP took office, the number of qualified nurses and midwives in Scotland’s NHS has increased by around 1,700 and the SNP is already committed to passing on Barnett consequentials from health spending to Scotland’s NHS, so this announcement does not promise any new money whatsoever. While Labour tries to pull the wool over people’s eyes by claiming it will spend the same money over and over again, we have delivered real progress for Scotland." Mr Robertson added

The proposed tax will target properties valued at more than £2million, despite criticism, even from inside Labour, that London and the South East will bear the brunt. Scotland will also be handed a disproportionate share of the takings under the Barnett Formula. Former Labour Cabinet minister Charles Clarke yesterday called the idea from Scottish Labour an "absurd proposition", while, Tory Deputy Chief Whip and MP for Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands said: "Every voter in London should read Labour’s proposal for a homes tax in London to pay for the NHS in Scotland."