Meeting in Downing Street
Sturgeon urges ‘fairness’ from Downing St
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today held talks in Downing Street aimed at ensuring that Scotland did not lose out from changes to the way the Scottish budget is calculated after new tax and spend powers are devolved.
The fiscal framework is crucial to determining Scotland’s budget once new tax powers are devolved and both parties have now agreed that the arrangement should be a fair deal for both parties.
After the meeting, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted the agreement in place by February and would not sign up to anything that left Scotland worse off. “I am not asking for any special favours,” she said. “I want to see a deal that is fair.”
She wanted an agreement so that Scotland “could get on and use” its new powers.
“Getting this agreement right is vital to ensure that Scotland isn’t worse off by hundreds of millions of pounds a year simply as a result of the transfer of powers that have been promised,” she said.
“We were both able to agree that the financial deal that goes alongside the extra powers transferring to Scotland must be fair for everyone involved and that both governments want to secure a deal by February to allow the Scotland Bill to move forward.
“Following today’s discussion I hope the Prime Minister now understands the issues of key importance to the Scottish Government and that some real progress can be made towards an agreement.”
The pair also discussed the Trade Union Bill and security matters as well as ways that the two governments can work together to help combat the threat posed by international terrorism.
On the Trade Union Bill the First Minister said: “There is widespread opposition from across Scottish society and the Scottish Parliament to the Trade Union Bill and it is essential that the Prime Minister understands that.
“Unfortunately the Prime Minister does not share my concerns. However, we will continue to work to find ways to prevent this damaging legislation coming into force north of the border.”
On security the First Minister said: “I also received a security update from the Prime Minister and measures being taken to protect the UK. We are aware of the challenges we face and we have said consistently that we support law enforcement agencies and the security and intelligence agencies in having the powers they require in order to keep our communities safe.
“However, we take people’s civil liberties extremely seriously too and we need to make sure that these powers should only be used when it is necessary and proportionate to do so.”