14/02/2016 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 14/02/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Morning, folks, and welcome to the Sunday Politics.


David Cameron says a manifesto shouldn't be a wish list,


He says he's been ticking off the commitments his manifesto made


Well, today, we launch our own manifesto tracker and we'll be


talking to the minister responsible for implementing it.


The Government wants to crack down on the gender pay gap.


But is it really as bad as everyone seems to make out?


We'll be talking to TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady.


And we'll be asking, who's wooing who in the putative


Plans for land has a? There certainly are. Not involving you so


far. Coming up on Sunday


Politics Scotland: What are the outstanding obstacles


to an agreement over And with me, as always,


a match made in heaven. Nick Watt, Polly Toynbee


and Tim Shipman, who'll be tweeting


throughout the programme. First, this morning let's turn


to the situation in Syria. A nationwide "cessation


of hostilities" is due But, despite that agreement,


the prospects for peace The truce does not apply


to the battle against what Russia calls terrorist targets and means it


will continue its heavy bombing Meanwhile, Turkey has shelled


Kurdish positions in Northern Syria and the Turkish Foreign Minister has


said his country is pondering This morning, the Foreign Secretary


said Russia had to begin complying The situation in Aleppo


is extremely worrying, the Russians are


using carpet-bombing tactics, indiscriminate


bombing of civilian areas Yes, we demand that the Russians


comply with their obligations under international law and their


obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions


that they have signed up to. Nick, you get a feeling that given


this deal was signed in Munich, it it is living up to deal is signed in


Munich reputations. When we hear the Foreign Secretary saying we demand


Russian do something when they are creating facts on the ground and we


are not, that will have a hollow ring. Russia is now. President's


Asad air force. They have ensured that President Assad cannot lose


this war but he cannot also win it. They have the air force but no


forces on the ground. Now that President Assad cannot lose this war


has changed the dynamics. We can whistle in the wind as much as we


like but Russia is the reality and power. Sir Roderick Lyne, the former


UK ambassador to Moscow was on radio five this morning and he said we


should not get too carried away with quite how powerful Russia is, they


don't have troops on the ground, they have a faltering economy and


they are nervous about going into far because of the disaster of


Afghanistan 35 years ago. They do have some troops on the ground, they


have proxy forces on the ground from Hezbollah and the uranium National


Guard. Although they can't take back the whole of Syria, they will take


back enough of it -- Iranians National Guard. Making success in


the south, the border with Turkey, controlling the Mediterranean


coastline. When they have done that, they might be serious about peace


talks. Then they are stuck with it. It is not clear if Vladimir Putin


thinks beyond tomorrow. It is not clear what the long-term strategy


could do. It could be like the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, an


absolute disaster. President Assad is saying that they intend to take


over the whole of the country, entirely unrealistic. There will be


some sort of partition. What is happening is very frightening in the


sense that everybody is fighting a proxy war, the Iranians and Saudis.


The one thing that people keep saying is Barack Obama was so weak


that it is quite unclear what he could have done. Perhaps he could


have given Syria's weapons to the more moderate rebels. Hillary


Clinton wanted him to do that in July 2012. She put a plan together


along with the general and he turned it down. What would have happened is


that they would be shooting down Russian planes with American


weapons. Or Russia might not have gone to war. We don't know.


Everything has a dynamic to it. This dynamic is leaving the west pretty


much as onlookers. It is clear that at least in the short-term, Mr Putin


will get back enough ground for Assad to then say we have got rid of


a lot of these "Terrorists" because they are not Islamic state. It is


now asked versus Islamic State. Exactly, we sound like the mouse


that squeaked this morning. I disagree with Polly. One of the


great powers in the world has now got very involved in a situation and


the other hasn't. President Obama had options. He did not explore them


to any sort of extent that it put off the Russians. Britain is left on


the sidelines, waiting for a new US president, to get engaged in this


issue and do something proactive. What could have been done that would


have been any use at all? Either useless or worse than useless, stuck


us in there... He did say he had chemical weapons and it was an


important red Line. And he let them cross the red line. He totally


ignored it. What would you have done that would have been useful? You


could have set up a humanitarian safe haven and protected it with


force and armed the rebels to deter the Russians and make it a situation


where Assad could not continue. We now have a situation where Assad is


now a fact of life, he is not going anywhere. There is not much you can


do without you were serious involvement. I am glad we touched on


Syria, it is an important developing story.


Now, what's black and white and not read all over?


Even if you did read it, would you be able to remember


all the promises and whether the Government had delivered them?


which charts the progress of the pledges


Sort of like a blue virtual Edstone, or maybe not!


Over the next four years, we'll be monitoring the Government's


progress on all of the commitments the Conservatives made ahead


of the 2015 general election in their manifesto, and a few big


promises they made during the campaign.


So, we've identified 161 pledges, and loaded them into our Manifesto


We've grouped them into categories covering all the major areas


of Government policy, from the constitution


And we've given each of the promises a colour rating.


Red signalling little or no progress so far.


Amber when the Government has made some progress.


Let's start by looking at the Conservative commitments


As you can see they've made at least some progress on all of them.


Easily the party's biggest promise here was to hold a referendum


on Britain's membership of the EU by December 2017.


We've marked that amber, to show that some progress


The bill setting the vote has passed through Parliament and it's looking


likely the poll will be held this year.


The cornerstone of the Conservative election campaign last May was how


they would handle the economy, and as you can see, that's


where we've found the greatest number of promises.


Let's look at one of the policies they identified


as part of their plan to eliminate the deficit.


That was to reduce the welfare bill by ?12 billion.


Again, we've given that an amber rating.


The savings were outlined in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement


But it's too early to say if they'll all be achieved.


When it comes to the constitution, the Government's made some progress


But it promised to scrap the Human Rights Act, and replace it


That gets a red rating, as although there have been reports


something is in the pipeline, as yet there is no sign


of the legislation required to introduce it.


Some manifesto commitments have already been delivered in full.


Like the introduction of English votes for English laws to give


English MPs a veto over laws that only affect England.


Other changes promised in the manifesto are less well known.


Like the promise to recover ?500 million from migrants


and overseas visitors who use the NHS by the middle


We will give that amber, because some new charges have


already been introduced, and the Department of Health


Let's add on the rest of the promises in each


of the policy areas and have a look at how the government


Taken together, of the 161 Conservative election commitments,


we think ten are red, 111 are amber, and 40 are green.


We'll be returning to the manifesto tracker every few months,


but in the meantime you can find the full data on the politics


And with us now the Cabinet Office Minister and Paymaster General,


Matt Hancock, he oversees the implementation


Welcome to the programme, do you regard this manifesto as a contract


with the British people and do you intend to intimate it all? It is


certainly the commitments on which we were elected. We take it


incredibly seriously -- goals to implement it. That is the goal. We


have got about a quarter delivered, we have had less than a year. In


fact, I really welcome this scrutiny and this project you have been on.


We will implement and publish our own plans and make sure that each


individual manifesto commitment has an individual minister responsible


for delivering it. And publish that. We will nationalise you and this


process. You will nationalise us? We can't afford you, probably, but we


will do this as a government. Let's see if you still want to do that at


the end of this interview. Your manifesto promised to scrap Labour's


Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, and


Human Rights Act and replace it with abolition Bill would be drafted


within the first hundred days after the election. It didn't happen. Why?


The work is in progress. Internally, we will publish it. Why have you not


kept to the timetable? The timetable of the whole manifesto is to deliver


within the parliament. You said this would be done, the draft bill within


the first 100 days. Clearly, we will deliver against the commitment. I


thought it was a bit harsh to call that read, I would call that Amber.


It is not delivered yet. We called it red because the justice minister,


Mr Bove, said the consultation had been delayed yet again. The question


is what we deliver over the five-year parliament. -- Mr Gove. We


are less than a year in and we have got one quarter delivered and that


is one where there is work in progress but we are committed to


doing it. The manifesto promised to make the UK's Supreme Court "The


ultimate arbiter of human rights in the UK". That will not happen. This


is all part of the same package which we have committed to


delivering. We are less than a year in and we have a few years to go.


Whatever the package, the Supreme Court will not be "The ultimate


arbiter" on human rights, will it? That is part of the proposed


package, as part of the replacement of the Human Rights Act. We will get


to that. There is a bigger picture, which is making sure that we deliver


on the overall set of commitments in the manifesto where we are making


good progress. But, you can enhance the role of the Cyprian Court on


human rights, I understand that. Maybe the British Bill of Rights


will do their -- Supreme Court. But at the end of the day, the European


Court of Human Rights is the ultimate arbiter. That is the


factual legal situation. It all depends on the changes that you


make. We will bring forward a package of changes to be able to


deliver against these commitments in the Parliament. Mr Gove says we are


not planning to derogate from the European Court of Human Rights.


Let's see what happens when we published the proposals on this


particular package. Immigration, probably your biggest fail, I would


suggest. The 2050 manifesto repeated the pledge in the 2010 manifesto to


get annual net migration down to tens of thousands -- 2015. After


five years, far from getting it down, net migration reached a record


336,000 last year, that is a spectacular failure. Clearly, this


is a commitment. To get immigration down to tens of thousands, that


remains the goal. But we haven't yet reached it. Presumably you did not


call that green. No. It is red. That the commitment remains because we


think it is reasonable to control immigration in this country, so that


while some immigration can be very good for the economy and more


broadly, actually it has got to be done at a reasonable level.


It's not just that you didn't get it down enough, it's actually risen


since you came to power. Why would you promise what you have failed


dismally to deliver again? I think it is a reasonable goal. Clearly we


put it in the manifesto for a reason, to get immigration down. And


we are less than a year into the Parliament and we've got four years


to go. Is it a goal or a pledge? Do you pledge to the British people


today that net migration will be down to the tens of thousands by


2020? Well I pledge to fulfil what was in the manifesto on which I and


every other Conservative MPs was elected. Well that pledge was to get


it down to the tens of thousands. It was meant to be in the tens of


thousands by 2015, it is 346,000, is there a pledge that it will be down


to the tens of thousands by 2020? There is a whole series of actions


that we are taking, not least the EU renegotiation to try to tackle


immigration and make sure that it's brought down to a reasonable level.


Again there is a broader point, of the 160 odd commitments that you are


measuring, delivering an accord of them, of course some are quicker


than others to deliver on, it's fair to say. But the whole point of


having the manifesto and tracking it as we are doing is to make sure we


know where we are up to. Lets come onto the European negotiations, that


was in the manifesto. The manifesto promised several key things in the


renegotiation, a four-year ban on EU migrants claiming in work benefits,


a new residency requirement for social housing, and no child benefit


for EU migrants if their children live abroad. The draft deal contains


none of these things. Well, firstly, as you say, the centrepiece of our


European policy was to have the referendum, and we will be having


the referendum. Although you call that Amber it is certainly going to


happen. I understand that but none of the things you said we would get


to vote on in this referendum have been delivered. We then sat out --


set out what we wanted to negotiate and that negotiation is not


complete. We have a lot of work to do this week to get the best


possible deal we can. I hope we will have a good deal and be able to vote


to stay in a reformed Europe. There is a version of the ban on EU


migrants benefits, there is not no child benefits, now there will be 28


different child benefits that Britain will pay but there is no


mention of residency requirement for social housing, no mention of that


in the deal, so that has gone? Look, we don't know the outcome of this


negotiation until the end of this week. There is a week of hard work


to get the deal. But there is a bigger picture here. Social housing


is not on the agenda? Let's see what we get in this deal over the next


week. But there's a bigger point here, which is that we said we'd


have the renegotiation, lots and lots of people said you are never


going to get these things on the table. A question of in work


benefits, child benefit, we were told you couldn't even put that on


the agenda. The discussion in Europe this week is exactly how far we go


on those. People said that we couldn't deliver anything in this


space and we've managed to deliver already the draft deal, and we will


see where we end up. But not what was in the manifesto. We will see


where we end up at the end of this week. We will indeed. Not


necessarily next week but in the weeks ahead we will be coming back


to go through this. Onto the economy, you put in place a charter


for budget responsibility which commits you to running a surplus, a


legal obligation as well as a commits you to running a surplus, a


policy. The in situ for fiscal studies says that will require tax


rises or spending cuts as yet unannounced, do you agree? Not in


the latest financial forecast put out by the office for budget


responsible to who independently advise on these, and we have a


budget in just over a month's time so we will see what the figures say,


then. Clearly in the latest forecast from the government, yes, we have


that surplus. You have not hit a surplus. We have hit it in the


forecast. And they change. They do, as the economy changes. On that


economic front there was an awful lot in the manifesto on that, it is


all about economic security, generating jobs, in the same way


that the national Security ones were all about national security. And


those were the two elements at the heart of this manifesto that we were


elected on. I would say that we are delivering very strongly on both. In


terms of the big picture of what you are getting from the message that we


said we were going to deliver. Let me come down to the smaller but


still very important picture. You have a legal obligation to reach a


surplus by 2020. If, to reach that surplus, you had to raise taxes,


would you? Look, much as I'd love to, I'm not going to set out tax


policy on Sunday morning. To meet the legal obligation, if it required


tax increases, would there be tax increases? We've set out the plans


and the plans hit a surplus. We did that in the Autumn Statement in


November. Clearly the economy changes all the time,


internationally, people have seen falls in the stock market in the


last few months. But we will have a budget in more than a month's time.


But I voted to have that surplus and that is clearly what we will set out


to do. You promised a lower tax society. Yes. Yet on the forecast,


the overall tax burden is rising as a percentage of GDP and on the


forecast, not the buoyancy but extra tax that you have introduced will be


?50 billion higher. So you have previous on this, you could raise


taxes again because you already have? Clearly there are some areas


where we have tightened things up, especially on tax avoidance. We took


an extra ?5 billion from tax avoidance measures. And what about


the billions in addition to that? We have reduced the tax burden


especially on people in lower wage jobs, they are going to get the


national minimum wage but we are well on the way to the manifesto


commitment of making sure you don't have to pay any income taxed until


you make ?12,500. We have made progress but there is more to do.


The manifesto talks about reducing the tax relief on pension


contributions for people earning more than ?150,000, people on 45%,


the highest income tax band, you are going to cut tax relief on their


pension contributions. If you were to also cut the tax relief of those


on the 40% rate, that would be breaching the manifesto? There we've


done what we said we would do in the manifesto. We've followed the


manifesto clearly in terms of the commitment that it made. Outside the


manifesto there's always going to be other things that you do. On pension


tax review were explicit that it would be those in the 45% wouldn't


get it, you didn't mention any other bracket, the imprecation is that


it's only the 45%. If you took away tax relief from the 40% taxpayers


that would be broken manifesto commitment? That's not how I see it,


you can add things to the manifesto. Look at the whole reform programme a


massive reform programme which was not in our manifesto because we've


built it up as a proposal since then. Likewise the Prime


Ministerspeech on social mobility and an tackling an just inequalities


-- an just inequalities. We've done a huge amount of that on the autumn.


Delivering on the manifesto commitments is absolutely essential.


But it is not the only thing you do in government because you respond to


events. But the purpose of this interview is to hold your manifesto


to account. Hunting, when will you give Parliament the chance to repeal


the hunting act. We are committed to doing that. When? In this


Parliament. We looked at doing it early on. You dropped that. We


decided not to do it then, but we are committed to its. You set a


target of ?1 trillion of exports by 2020, most forecasters including


your own oh BR say you will be at least ?350 billion short. Can we


agree that you will not hit that target? It's fair to say that it is


stretching target, but it remains our target, our aspiration. But you


will miss it. There is an awful lot of work going into achieving it.


Thank you for that, come back and we will see the progress in the months


ahead. Look forward to it. And remember if you want to see how


the government is doing in detail our manifesto tracker


is available for you to peruse On Friday, new measures to tackle


the pay gap between genders From 2018, companies with more


than 250 employees will have to publish the differences in salary


between men and women. Businesses failing to address


the problem will be named Here's what Women and Equalities


Minister Nicky Morgan had to say. Transparency about the gender pay


gap in companies and public sector organisations is going to be very


important in driving behaviour. So we are going to require


companies, under the regulations, companies of over 250 employees,


to publish their gender pay gap We, as a government, will then


compile those league tables. It will be two fold, one,


companies will hopefully, and we expect from


the response we have, to think a lot harder about where


women are in their workforce. How they are distributed,


what they are being paid. But it will also drive


applications to work in certain organisations because I think women


will look and see what is the gender pay gap in this organisation


and is this somewhere And with us now, General Secretary


of the TUC, Frances O'Grady. Welcome back. We know there is a


gender pay gap. In some age groups, not all, but still in some age


groups. Where is the evidence that it is a result of dissemination, of


employers not paying properly, as opposed to lifestyle and choices? We


still do have this pretty crazy situation where women have Giroud


and 80p for everyone pound that men do across the economy. -- where


women earn 80p for every pound that men do. This is a welcome step, this


initiative, but it is a very small step. It is about reporting, not


about telling us why this is going on, not coming up with actions to


deal with it. When you dig down from the headline figure, and you have


just used one, you begin to see some quite deep-seated cultural issues,


not just a matter of economics. The labour market study shows that men


tend to work in occupations that pay more, that's been a historic thing.


And women in jobs that pay less. For example men in construction, women


in retail. Men in computer programming, women in nursing. That


is one of the explanations for the page gap. There is certainly still


big job separation, but one of the questions we must ask is, is it case


of equal values? People paying for the work of equal value. It is


illegal to pay anybody less than a man is getting or vice versa, equal


pay for equal jobs. For example, why is looking after children considered


to be less valuable than mending a car? The problem is, in order for


women to prove it, they've got to be able to take employment tribunal


claims, and of course we've seen this government introduce very


significant fees that have massively reduced the number of women being


able to take pay and six dissemination claims. Is on the


gender pay gap really a generational matter, and it might be resolving


itself? I'd like to show you this chart, here, which looks at


different age groups. For women aged 40 to 49, there is a gap, it's


coming down but there is still a substantial gap. For younger women


in the 22 to 29, there is no pay gap, indeed there is some evidence


now that the gender pay gap is the other way among younger people than


it is amongst men. What I think it shows you is that the real problem


kicks in when women have babies. Yes. That's when women are much more


likely to work part-time, much more likely to need nurseries, and as we


get older and we are looking after elderly parents, too. Elder care as


well. Some of those public service cuts are hitting our sure start


centres and care for the elderly. I think you hit on something, there.


You can begin to see the return of the gender pay gap as women hit


their late 20s or early 30s, because the average age that women have


their first child is 28 and a half. So that suggests that the policy


response will have to be quite sophisticated to get rid of a later


developing pay gap. Stopping cuts on this is would help but also helping


dads as well. A lot of men nowadays want to be more involved with their


children but they need more paid paternity to be able to do that. I


want to show you another chart that suggests there are developers. This


shows you a figure that is not widely known, there are now every


year 100,000 more women applying for university than men. 100,000 more.


Women from poor backgrounds are 50% more likely to go to university than


men. Women now take most of the first in medicine and law, two


professions that are pretty well paid. Again, isn't this sense that,


even in the later years, now, the gender pay gap could begin to


resolve itself? I really hope so the TUC analysis


shows that at this rate of change it would take another 45 years. No, I


looked at these figures. Frances O'Grady, you took one year of the


pay gap, which strode it came down by 0.2%. Dodt which showed. If you


had taken the last ten years it still takes too long but it is not


47 years, that was a propaganda figure. You can't do a trend on one


year. Most people agree we need bold action to change it. Given we have


agreed that it is a complicated picture and now becomes an issue


primarily for women who have taken time off and then go back into the


workforce again, get me one thing that the government could do that


would stop this gender pay gap re-emerging in their 30s and 40s?


Stop cuts to nurseries. Provide a proper system of care for old


people, that allows women and men to combine those caring


responsibilities with a responsible job. That is what would really


make... I can see how it would help. It is about progression and people


feeling they can go for that promotion or training course that


would get them a better job. It is a lot better than the


boardroom and a lot better than many sat around the Cabinet table. Take


the NASUWT, 74% female membership, only 30% women of full-time


officers, only 35 are on the TUC delegation, only 20 are on the NEC.


Led by Ormond general secretary. For the first time in history, it is


50/50 -- a woman general secretary. And the TUC has its first. I'm


delighted to say. She loves unions. It has just won 11:30am. You are


watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who


Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.


Another week, another round of fiscal framework talks.


Are the Treasury and the Scottish Government inching their way


towards agreement or is there an insurmountable gulf?


All parties agreed that an independent body should produce


the official economic forecasts for the Scottish Government.


So why did Holyrood's Finance Committee vote against it this week?


The Tories are campaigning to be the second-largest party at Holyrood


after the elections, but how important is the Ruth Davidson brand


The next round of talks on the fiscal framework begins


Despite neither of the principal players being willing to talk


about it, there's been no shortage of official letters released


But have they shed any light on the issues at stake


I'm joined from London by David Phillips, who's a senior


research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


He wrote a paper with David Bell, the Scottish economist, going


through some of the details with this. Having looked at the paper,


and it's shrunk from the various tables and equations, the first


thing that struck me about it is, actually, when you look at how any


system could work, it is much more complicated than the politicians are


letting on. I think you're right there. It's a very complicated


picture and that's because of the no debt principles and the taxpayer


principles in the Smith commission's report. So the issue at stake is


that there are these two principles that the agreement has to try to


satisfy. The first is the principle which says that Scotland should


neither gain nor lose from the decision to devolve the tax would


evolve the spending power. That's the first principle. And there's


another no detriment principle, called the taxpayer fairness


principle, which says that Scotland should neither win or lose when tax


rates are changed in the rest of the UK. You might think those are both


very sensible principles and I agree, they sound like the building


blocks of a fair system, but it turns out that with the Barnett


formula in place, you can't design a system which simultaneously


satisfies both those principles and is simple and transparent. Let's


just take one of the political issues. Obviously from the British


government's point of view, they don't want a situation where, should


they raise income tax, for example, to pay for schools and hospitals in


England, and there's no rise in income tax in Scotland, that somehow


the money raised would leap into Scotland's public spending. MPs


would stand up and say it was completely ridiculous and unfair.


The so-called levels deduction principle, which you discussed in


your paper and which Greg Hands, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury,


seems to be promoting, appears to be the only way of avoiding that


happening. Yes, so what this levels deduction method does... It says


that when tax rates change in England, you increase the block


grant adjustment and take off the block grant by the equivalent to


Scotland's population share of that. So if it was 10 billion in England,


the Scottish population is 10% so you take 1 billion more off the


block grant. The reason that satisfies the taxpayer fairness


principle you mentioned is that that is exactly symmetric with the way


the Barnett formula works on the spending side. The Scottish


Government's position is that that is a detriment to Scotland because


that would require Scottish levels to go up more quickly in percentage


terms, because they start lower, to keep up with that form of


adjustment. So it's really about balancing these two principles. Just


to give an illustration of the problems here, the levels deduction


method politically gets you off that problem, that people say, look, this


is ridiculous that taxes go up in England to pay for Scottish spending


but taxes don't go up in Scotland but the downside, according to your


paper, is that should Scotland's population not grow as fast as


England's, Scotland's budget appears to be clobbered in the medium-term.


There are two issues. Scotland is it by two factors under this method.


First of all the population difference. Scottish populations


tend to go up less quickly than in the UK and this method doesn't take


that into account. Also, the method doesn't take into account the fact


that Scottish revenues start of less per capita. Income tax revenues in


Scotland are about 89% of the same amount per person of the rest of the


UK. That's some thing the Scottish Government need to say, this is not


consistent with the idea of no detriment. We see new proposals from


the Scottish Government and the UK government in the last week that try


to inch towards an agreement and compromise on some of these


principles. The point is, to some extent there is a clash of right


against right. It is personally reasonable for the British


government to say, we can't ever situation where taxes go up in


England and end up paying for things in Scotland but are not paying for


their but the Scottish Government is quite reasonable to say, we can't


take full responsibility if Scotland's population doesn't grow


as fast in England because we don't have any control over immigration


policy. I think you are right. There are two principles which are both


reasonable and the situation now is that they are trying to come to an


agreement which tries to compromise on certain elements. The Scottish


Government has said, we will use our method for the day to day increases


in revenues. That satisfies the no detriment principle. That means that


Scotland would lose out from population growth and from starting


off with lower revenues. But we will use the level method for the tax


rate changes. The difficulty there is, there are two methods working at


the same time so it could be quite complicated. How do you know what


part of the change in revenues is to do with the rate changes and what


part is to do with economic growth, especially when there can be


affected of tax policy changes on behaviour and growth? But is that


fudge which you've just described... Is it at least a workable forge? It


depends on to what extent they'd want to make it as accurate a fudge


as possible. You could do it with a good approximation if you took been


no behavioural response estimates of policy change but those can be very


different to the real effects. So on the 50p tax rate, that would raise


lots of money if there was no behavioural response but the


difference is very little once people respond. So you need to have


some really big assumptions or leave a lot of effects out. I think that


could potentially work if there is goodwill on both sides but if there


is an goodwill, it could lead to scope for argument and slow


unravelling of the system as it becomes unworkable because of trying


to debate and argue about each of tax policy changes. Something that


hasn't been talked about very much is that presumably there would have


to be provision for some special transfers under certain conditions.


Let me give you an example. I've tried to make this as controversial


as possible. Let's say the British government says, we want to pay for


Trident and are going to put income tax up by 1p, but a a bit Scotland.


They will say, Scotland gets the benefit of Trident as much as much


as England does so the Scottish Government will have to make some


sort of sub mention of money to make up for the fact that taxes have not


gone up in Scotland to pay for that. There would have to be a provision


for that and if you want an explosive one, there you have it.


Indeed. Actually, both the methods chosen by the Scottish Government,


the per capita indexation method and the levels deduction method proposed


by the UK government, would both deliver that kind of transfer


automatically. What would happen is tax revenues would go up in the rest


of the UK, there for the block grant adjustment would go up, and both


methods, although by somewhat different amounts, and that would be


Scotland's contribution to paying for things UK wide. It could be


Trident or it could be increases in the state pension, which go to both


Scotland and the rest of the UK. Just briefly, because we will have


to leave this, under the method... We talked about the levels


distribution which Greg Hands is now arguing for but as I understand it,


under the method, the per capita method, that the Scottish Government


is arguing for, you would have a risk that taxes raised in England


would have a over spending in Scotland without any concomitant


rises in Scotland. You would have that risk indeed. You have that risk


both from tax increases in the rest of the UK, when they put up the tax


rate, but also, over time, as tax revenues go up. Greg Hands has said


a proportion of those extra tax revenues in England and Wales would


be transferred to Scotland. That's true but that goes on at the moment


under the Barnett formula and without taxes devolved and the


Scottish Government has been saying that it thinks that should continue


and the no detriment principles are satisfied. Greg Hands has come back


with a modified version of the levels deduction method, which moves


a long way in that direction. The method he proposes is to adjust the


level deduction method two, in effect, continue to give these


additional transfers in income tax to Scotland. The key issue they're


now debating about, it seems, is what happens to population growth


and what happens to taxes other than income tax, like stamp duty.


Potentially, they solve the issues on income tax and then move on to


population growth and what happens to stamp duty, landfill tax, air


passenger duty and taxes like that. We have to leave it there. Thank you


very much. Listening to that in Aberdeen


is the SNP MP Kirsty Blackman, who sits on the Scottish


Affairs Select Committee. If Greg Hands's proposal is amended


in the way that David Phillips has just suggested he has amended it,


that sounds fairly reasonable, doesn't it? Not exactly. What the UK


government are now suggesting is doing a method of Dutch and that


involves taking ?7 billion away from Scotland and the May going to give


us 4.5 billion back over ten years. But we have still got a funding


formula that is unfair to Scotland and doesn't fulfil the Smith


commission. The point is, you would presumably accent it would be an


should taxes raised in England somehow leak income tax into


spending in Scotland and that seems to be the problem with what the


Scottish Government was suggesting originally. I think the key argument


here is talking about what we've got a mandate for. So what is the UK


government have a mandate for here? The UK government has a mandate to


preserve Barnett because that's what it said in its manifesto. My point


about leaking taxes... Surely just because you are a Scottish


nationalist doesn't mean you have to abandon a British sense of fair


play. It just wouldn't be fair play if taxes went up in England than


some of that spending ended up being spent in Scotland, even though taxes


haven't gone up in Scotland. That's just not fair. But what nobody has


here is a mandate to overrule the Barnett formula so what we are


trying to do is the Scottish Government are putting forward the


per capita deduction system, which is the closest method to Barnett. It


manages to integrate Scotland from the fact that we got lower


population growth. Nobody is talking about overruling Barnett. We're


talking about what should be deducted from the money that comes


to Scotland under the Barnett formula in order to compensate...


But that's what the method does. What the levels deduction method


does is it systematically reduces the block grant that is provided to


Scotland, so what it is doing is overruling Barnett by the back door,


if you like. Do explain. What do you mean, exactly? The levels deduction


method means that Scotland has to grow its population faster in


proportional terms than the rest of the UK population. As you just heard


David Phillips explaining, the advantage of that is that should


income tax go up in England but not in Scotland, the advantage of the


levels deduction method is it simply puts the Barnett formula up and


Scotland gets extra money because of the tax increases in England, and


takes it back again through the deduction, so there for their is no


unfair increase in Scottish spending. That's the point. But what


the levels deduction method does is it produces in Scotland's budget


without Scotland having to make any detrimental decisions without the


Scottish Government having to make any bad decisions. It looks like you


don't want to take any... I can understand the argument that


Scotland has no control over immigration and there for if the


population grows here at a lesser rate than in England, all the


responsibility for that should not fall on the Scottish budget. But


surely at least some of it should. The whole point about more


devolution of powers is that Scotland does take responsibility


for things that can attract people to come and live here. The Scottish


Government at the Scottish Parliament should have


responsibility for all of those areas with which they have the


powers to deal with. So they should take the risks and they should take


the benefits of policy decisions that they make on things that are


devolved. On things that are reserved, the policy is not a policy


we would have chosen, there for the UK government has to bear the risks


of that. Are you saying that nothing the Scottish Government can do with


all these extra powers it has will have any influence on the Scottish


population at all? I'm saying that there are things that we can do and


things that we can currently do that will work to increase the Scottish


population but in terms of the Scottish population in comparison to


the population of the rest of the UK, it is very difficult and a


professor and David Bell who work before the Scottish affairs


committee, they both said Scotland doesn't have the leverage to grow


its population. The professor pointed out that Scotland's


population in terms of the rest of the UK population, which is what we


are talking about, Scotland's population has not grown at a faster


rate than the rest of the UK since the act of union. If the SNP walks


away from this, as it has threatened to do, would you be comfortable


facing your electorate and saying, look, we were offered control over


half Scotland's budget and we said no? I don't think the new devolution


can come at any cost. I don't think that the Scottish Parliament should


sign up to a deal that is going to systematically reduce the block


grant for Scotland and systematically reduced the amount of


money. ?3.5 billion over ten years is not pennies. It is quite a lot of


money. One of the things we've committed to doing is we are going


to publish a manifesto commitment on what we would do with these devolved


powers. It is not in anyway about hiding. We are going to be upfront


and honest about what we would do if these powers were devolved. But you


would be happy to walk away from it, is that what you are saying? We


wouldn't be happy. We should point out that your estimates of what


would be gained or lost under various systems over ten years are


simply estimates, so you'd be saying, we've done estimates on what


will happen in 10-years' time and because we don't like what would


happen in 10-years' time, we refused to take more powers to the Scottish


Parliament now. Open the course of ten years, not in


ten years' time will stop it could be less, it could be more. I think


the electorate understand that. People are saying, yes,


absolutely... Are they? Your political opponents are murmuring


that actually, you want to delay this because you don't want to have


the next election fall on your record of running Scotland. You'd


rather turn it into a constitutional Barney so you can say you are hard


done by by London. All this is quite intentional on the part of the SNP.


It is absolutely not intentional. It does not advantage the SNP in any


way. We will still publish policies so people can argue about whether or


not they think that our policies, and the Scottish Government has an


excellent record and we will fight this election on it. Thank you very


Well, one thing all sides do agree on is the need to strengthen


Or at least they did agree on it until this week,


when the Finance Secretary was accused of killing off proposals


to give an independent body greater powers to scrutinise


that the fiscal commission should produce official economic forecasts,


But this week SNP MSPs overturned their previous stance


Well, we did ask for a member of the Finance Committee to come on,


So joining me now is the MSP James Dornan and Labour MSP


Can you explain to us why an idea that the SNP is thought was


brilliant in a few months ago is no rubbish? I think you are


exaggerating both sides of it. At stage one we suggested these moves


but then when the Cabinet Secretary and explain the complexities and


what the outcomes would be if we went along with those, they agreed


on the Scottish Government position. This is a case of when the evidence


changes, so does my view. Let me read you what Kenny Gibson, the


finance Chase said. We are calling for the build to be changed to give


it responsibility for producing the official forecast. Will the new


commission have that responsibility? It doesn't look like it. 120 out of


23 countries that have a similar system, only three of them have


these powers. What we are saying is the Scottish Government position


will be in keeping with the international one. The old BR is one


of my Reagan policies. Hang on. Let me just get this very precise point.


In the UK Parliament, a motion is put forward to say that George


Osborne should set the economic forecasts and not OBR. The


Westminster government has nothing to do with me. I thought you were


the main opposition party. I am in the Scottish Government will stop I


am here to talk about the Scottish Government position on this. We


should not be using OBR is the perfect example. We have had


previous politicians saying that the OBR was just another part of the


Conservative government. So you are against the OBR? They collect


information from government officials, so you could quite


drizzly, the HRC said what happened was there was no change, it used to


be that officials collected it and gave it to the government and now


they give it to be BR. It's the exact same information. Can you


explain to us why it is a bad idea for a commission which is


independent of the government to set the official forecast? It should be


the government's responsibility. If you have the Scottish risk of


commission doing that, who are they going to be held responsible by? It


should surely be the government of the day. So the British government


cannot hold George Osborne responsible for his own budget? Its


OBR. What happens is they put forward a forecast, but the Scottish


Government would be in keeping with the rest of Europe, and the rest of


the countries. So what about that. I'm afraid the Scottish Government


have got it badly wrong. Two years ago, I think, they produced a report


on the back of an enquiry saying they wanted a strong fiscal


commission. The stage one report was literally a couple of weeks ago, and


in that time they've changed their mind. The only conclusion people can


draw is that they've been got at. We need, because we've got power was


coming to us, we have new powers now and have more coming in the future,


a substantial power over taxation and welfare. We need a robust fiscal


commission to scrutinise our public finances. Actually, we're asking it


to do more than that. It's not just forecasting. What the SNP voted down


last week was looking at the long-term sustainability of public


finances and the Scottish Government... But he says its OBR


who are the operation? It's not. Other countries have bodies that do


this job, who looked at the finances. In Scotland we don't have


that capacity. It is critical that any fiscal commission is not just


independent but seem to be independent. At the moment, that's


not the case. We had an opportunity, not just to scrutinise government


finances, but finances for the future. The SNP denied it. You


accept that the SNP members were arguing for the opposite position to


you you said they were technical reasons they changed their mind.


What I said was that when the Deputy first minute explain the


complexities and the possibility that they would be a lack of


independence from it if it was... What are these complexities? First


of all it would be outside the financial memorandum. If government


officials collected information it would be given to the Scottish


fiscal commission, exactly the same information the same people would be


given to the government just now. Where is the requirement for them to


do this? That is nonsense! The fiscal commission would be able to


collect information from wherever. They could commission people to do


so. They would be nothing there. They can still hold the government


to account. Do you know what happens now? What happens now is there is a


degree of challenge and scrutiny that has the commission working with


the government producing reports that the government sees in advance,


having some have described it as cosy conversations. I wouldn't go


that far but I do think that lack of independence, that lack of scrutiny,


is a problem for us as we proceed. We need something robust. We don't


want a laptop which is what the SNP want to give us. We need a


commission with teeth. I don't understand why you think OBR is a


bad idea. I still don't understand what these complexities are to stop


that happening here. Despite the fact that Jackie seems to think that


OBR is a good thing, it is only two years ago that Alistair Darling said


it was part of the Westminster government. We need a completely


independent Scottish fiscal commission that can give an


alternative forecast and hold someone to account. What you want,


you wanted to be almost like part of the government. It should be... What


is it that the SNP didn't understand before that they understand having


been enlightened by John Swinney? John Swinney went in front of the


committee and explained the possible costs that would be involved in it


on the dangers of it as part of that whole system. I was that the finance


committee. That is just nonsense! I have to say. Oh dear. We are talking


about the future of the nation's finances. This is a new low in SNP


politics. I think we have to leave it there.


Thank you very much indeed. It's become a truism


of this Scottish election that the interesting thing is who's


going to come second - The Tory revival, if there is one,


is down in part to Labour's difficulties, but is also


being credited to the leadership She's young, from a blue collar


background, and seems to be helping the party connect with voters


who would never have thought That'll be underlined this week


as the Conservative leader in Scotland sends out


600,000 letters to voters, Preparing to hit the streets in the


West end of Glasgow with a Conservative message, which oddly,


seems to be about their leader. We were seen to be the party of people


with money that came from a certain background. I didn't go to


university. I went to college for a couple of years, we need to


represent the people of Scotland and under Ruth Davidson that is what we


are doing. We bring all sorts of Conservatives into the fold to


represent everyone in Scotland. Ruth is leading from the front. You


only have to watch chain Holyrood to see that she is the only opposition


leader who is holding the SNP to account.


So how has Ruth Davidson managed to park her tank on the opposition 's


lawn? She is energetic, she does well in


debates and high tariff shows like question Time. She is popular and


shall do well in this campaign. But there are other factors, one is the


Labour Party situation, moderate Labour voters who are still voting


Labour, there aren't many of them left, but Jeremy Corbyn will put


them off and cows you don't do's tax rises would put them off. It is


possible they will go to the Tory party.


But haven't the Tories been here before, led by a powerful


charismatic woman who somehow seems much more popular than the party


itself we had a situation five years ago in terms of individual


popularity, but the Tories did not output the Labour Party. We need to


be cautious about this, the leader is popular, but the party is not as


popular as the leader is. That can play against them. It has done in


the past. Some argue that the Conservatives only look good at the


moment because labour in Scotland is falling so fast and so far. If that


were the case Labour's polling is would-be brewer, but we are seeing


not just a building on the support we have always known we had in


Scotland, but people responding positively to this combination of


vibrant, dynamic leadership from Ruth and a clarity of political and


policy position. Voters, if they want anything, it's clarity. If I


support these people, what will they do? With the Conservatives that


question is answered. Become a's elections watch what a quirk of the


system which could benefit the Conservatives. The SNP will win


every constituency bar two or three, what that means is the SNP will not


win a lot of regional seats. Those seats have got to go to somebody.


There are 56 of them up for grabs. The Greens have got a good chance of


getting some of them if they can persuade SNP voters to switch to


green in the vote, but if they can't the Greens are not likely to do all


that well. Votes will stay with the SNP and the main beneficiaries are


likely to be the Conservative Party. They are likely to get more seats on


the same butcher as they had before. There were other people giving out


leaflets in Glasgow, gospel tracts, it's not yet clear if the


Conservatives will be relying on divine intervention.


Joining me from our Edinburgh studio is the Conservatives' Environment,


Fishing and External Affairs Spokesperson Jamie McGrigor,


who is standing down at the May election.


You're standing down, Jamie, so you can stand back from it a bit, do the


Tories have any chance of being the main opposition party? I think they


will be. Ruth Davidson has been a breath of fresh air. What has been


said about her is very true, showing to people what can be offered, and


also, one of the main Unionist parties, and people want a home if


they don't want separation. The danger with this is that we are


hearing so much now about how Ruth Davidson and her Conservative Party


will become the main opposition party in Scotland that if it doesn't


happen she could have a problem? We are going to see an improvement in


the Conservative vote anyway. I am sure of that. I don't think she will


have a problem because she is so dynamic and will go forward. She's


going forward all the time. One of our main groups of voters, the most


powerful groups of voters are the 18 to 25-year-olds. I think it's all to


play for. I look forward to the future for the Conservative Party in


Scotland, it's a Scottish party and she's made it a more Scottish party.


We are, after all, the only party with a link to the old parliament


before the act of union. The only problem with this rosy story is the


evidence to back it up. You're sharing the general election went


down. In the general election? But recent


polls show we are pulling about 20%, I remember when I first got off the


boat in Stornoway as a candidate for the Western Isles back in 1997, I


said I was a Conservative candidate and someone said URA Rabbani


cornflake. I can tell you now, I'd love to go to that same Labour man


and tell him that Labour are pulling less than the Conservatives.


Give us your view about what the Tories should say about tax. You've


had this idea of a middle band, a 30p rate of tax. Do you think that


is a good idea? The details of it will have to be worked out but one


thing is for sure. We are against tax rises, which is what Labour


once, and we would like to see... We would like to have the powers to do


things and, if possible, the power to lower tax at some point. Do you


think you should go to the election campaign saying, we will put your


taxes down, in the same way Labour are going to the campaign saying


they will put them up? I think we should go into the campaign saying


that when we ever get to power, we will look at the tax situation then


but the one thing we do not want is tax rises at this point. That would


make people in Scotland worse off than they are in England. I'm sure


I'm right in saying that you've been an MP since it was set up. Yes, in


the Scottish Parliament, yes, I have. Looking back on it, hasn't


lived up all lived down to your expectations? It's been very


exciting for me. It's been something I've enjoyed enormously and I've


learned a great deal. And I think that it will go forward and it is


getting better all the time but what we do need is to get rid of this


massive SNP majority which is blocking everything. We will have to


leave it there. Thank you very much. Time to review the past week


and look ahead to what's coming up I'm joined by the political


commentator Hamish Macdonell and by the former SNP special


advisor Ewan Crawford. Hamish, you've been furiously


scribbling equations as we were talking about the fiscal framework.


What do you make of this fairly incompressible talk? I would like to


say that I think we are heading towards a deal. That seems to be the


impression because the UK government do appear to have changed a bit the


way that they have approached the key discussions over the levels for


Miller and so on. The Scottish Government appears to be moving a


little bit towards them. But we only have ten days to go and we have


these discussions... We don't. We've got as long as you want. Do we? I


don't think we do because if we do not get a resolution before the 23rd


of February, the Scottish Parliament will not have the time to approve it


and if it doesn't approve it, there are very, very big question marks


over the legitimacy of the Scotland bill in Westminster. What do you


think of this? I kind of disagree. I read Greg Hands' article this


morning and I was a bit more pessimistic about the deal but


clearly there are probably legitimate political interests on


both sides, both the Scottish side of the UK side, and there are


separate constituencies. He seemed to concede that, that the Scottish


Government does have a legitimate interest in saying, it's not fair


that you have to take the full effects of population growth but at


the same time the British government obviously has to say, you can't have


tax increases in England but not in Scotland to spilling over into


Scotland. In terms of the technicalities, the IFF doesn't


believe you can come up with a method of reducing the block grant


that is committed web of consistent with the Smith commission. What I


detected from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury's article was almost a


rerun of some of the arguments the Conservatives used during the


general election, when they appealed to people in England to say, there


is this terrible threat from the SNP and they want to take your taxes. I


was surprised by just how explicit the Chief Secretary to the Treasury


was in that, which is not really, to me, the kind of thing that makes you


think they are moving toward the deal. There is a point here. I can


ask you to about this because you are not politicians. The politicians


all have to keep the Barnett formula because they are committed to it but


that's what's causing the problem. If you did something like what the


Liberal Democrat peer Jeremy Purvis was suggesting, say there is no


rush, have a conference... Much more sensible. There was an imbalance.


They're trying to make a compromise while saying at the start that the


Barnett formula can't be changed or adjusted. There are many better ways


that this could have been approached but we are where we are and the two


sides are still far apart. One of the problems is that there seems to


be a level of mistrust on both sides, but both sides are now


leaking to the press about allsorts of things. These are supposed to be


secret talks. You can read each letter in the newspaper. To be fair,


for the first couple of months the UK government sat back and didn't


look anything but over the last few weeks, they've got quite annoyed by


some of the things appearing in the press and have started leaking, too.


That generates even further a sense of mistrust which is not going to


help with a deal. With your academic hat on, rather than your SNP hat on,


it would be sensible if you could have trust between the Scottish


Government on the British government, wouldn't it, to have a


quasi-federal deal, let's talk about it and not have a timetable. We


don't have to sorted out before the elections. Let me take my academic


hat off and put my slight SNP hat back on. I'm no longer fully in the


SNP but I certainly don't work the Scottish Government. But when I did


work of the Scottish Government in the run-up to the referendum, one of


the big beers, if something was going to happen after a no vote was


a reopening of the Barnett formula. The Conservative Party doesn't like


it and perhaps what we are seeing is some attempt to open that up. They


wouldn't like that because what they would here is a chorus saying, it


needs reassessment and I might disagree with it but there is at


least a possibility that it would say public spending in Scotland is


about the UK. Maybe it has to be a bit higher but not that much. We've


traditionally raised a lot more taxpayer had done the UK as well.


And you mention acquires I federal system. The point is, you have so


much political economic culture in one part of the UK which inevitably


disadvantages the rest of the UK. All right. Tories - could they be


heading for a fall? Only heading for a fall if you start from a position


of height. They keep saying they are going to be second. I think they


have to talk up their chances to an extent because they are almost a


level pegging in some of the polls with Labour, there is nothing wrong


with talking up their chances, particularly as the Labour vote is


to be haemorrhaging. Maybe it will get some of the Tartan Tories back


to vote for them. Enough of them. Let's have a drink, shall we? There


we are. We can get the tray out without spilling it. Let's sing our


sorrows in the beer. This, I should explain to people,... Is this


because we've been talking about the risk of framework? This is a beer


which is named after the leader of the Scottish Greens. What do you


think? I was going to say that if it is a green project, it is probably


very expensive and slightly over subsidised, but... I would say it's


got taste, it's got flavour. If it lasts beyond election, who knows?


I'm no expert on beer. I could degenerate into a political cliche


and say the Greens after the Liberal Democrat vote and their four


sandals, beer, real ale and all that type of stuff. I suppose Patrick


Harvie had a very good referendum. A bit of public that he is not going


to do any harm. Has this happened before? I don't remember a beer


coming out the was named after a leader of a political party. I


certainly... There have been quite a few publicity stunts but they


normally don't tend to involve alcohol, that's true. What else


could we have? And just tried to think. We could have pot noodles and


things like that. I think it is slightly odd, in a situation where


everybody is talking about the perils of Scotland's drink culture


that you actually have a leader who is prepared to go out there and have


a beer named after him. I think it is quite refreshing. What do you


reckon? Is it all right? I think it's OK. Perhaps a little in the


morning to be taking a huge judgment on a particular BA you have just


tested. It's better than I expected. It's a little cloudy so it perhaps


lead suspend a little longer in the bottle but it's good. I notice you


haven't taken any. I'll have the rest of the bottle later! It is made


by a microbrewery in Glasgow, we should point out.


That's all we have time for this week. Thanks to our guests today and


we will be back next week. Goodbye.


Download Subtitles