Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has said that job creators must benefit from the package of new powers to be allocated to Scotland following the process being led by Lord Smith of Kelvin.
Speaking on a visit to Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Plant in Livingston, Mr Rennie said that the engines driving Scotland’s economy would reap the rewards of radical new financial powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Rennie set out detailed proposals from the Scottish Liberal Democrats to give business a triple boost, through:
- assigning the revenues of corporation tax raised in Scotland to the Scottish Government
- prudential borrowing powers so Scotland can invest to save in the long term future of the country
- joint-working so that the Scottish Government would have full responsibility for skills and training in JobCentre Plus and the Work Programme, whilst continuing to fund payments across the whole of the UK.
Mr Rennie said, “Job-creators like Mitsubishi are the engines driving our economy. It is only sensible that they stand to benefit from the new package of powers to come to Scotland as a result of the Smith process.
“I want to see radical new financial powers, and to find better ways of doing business between governments and agencies across the UK. These are reasonable yet radical proposals from which employers like Mitsubushi would reap the rewards.
“I want to set out why Scottish Liberal Democrat plans for home rule in a federal UK would give employers a triple boost.
“We propose to assign the revenues from Corporation Tax so that we can accrue the benefits of decisions to grow the economy here. That is money from business which goes straight back to boosting business in Scotland.
“Second, the allocation of prudential borrowing powers would mean that we could invest to save for the long term future of the country. More capital projects, more jobs and more growth. Thanks to Liberal Democrats in UK government, this is already happening through the Scotland Act 2012. I want to strengthen this responsibility.
“Third, increased joint working would mean that we can integrate services for people looking for work if the power over the Work Programme resided here. The cash payments to those seeking work would continue to be made by the UK Government but full responsibility for skills and training would pass to the Scottish Government.
“Our detailed, common-sense plans work for Scotland and they work for business. Our positive agenda would equip Scotland with a nimble government able to respond effectively to issues in Scotland, with the financial resources and clout to make that happen.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats are the party most prepared to deliver the change Scotland wants to see. I hope that all parties will now work with us in the Smith process so that job-creators across Scotland are given the tools they need to build a stronger economy.”