We read in the Times online of 28th April 2009 that radical plans to give the Scottish government control of up to half of the income tax raised north of the Border and most of the revenue from North Sea oil and gas are being considered by economists advising the Calman Commission.
We are told that the commission, chaired by Sir Kenneth Calman, was charged by the three main Unionist parties (Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative) to find ways that the existing devolution settlement can be made to work better for all parts of the UK. We must assume that all parts of the UK includes England but most of the gas fields are in English waters so who is to negotiate on England’s behalf? Who has the authority to ensure that the interests of the English taxpayers are protected? Indeed who speaks for England?
We are further told that the commission is set to back borrowing powers for Holyrood as one of its main recommendations when it reports later this year. While not explicitly stated, the inference from other reports is that the borrowing will be from the British Government the vast majority of whose funding comes from England. With the example of the toxic assets of the Scottish banks before us should not England be consulted before its people are touched for any loan? And what guarantee do the people of England have that such debts will be administered by those with the best interests of England at heart?
If Holyrood is to get most of the revenue from British North Sea oil and gas-will the Scottish government then take on most of the cost of the failure of the Scottish Banks or will the enormous national debt, taken on by the British Government on behalf of those banks, remain a millstone around the necks of the English taxpayer for a generation?
The Calman Commission had a remit largely specific to Scotland. In a united kingdom why does Scotland gets to debate about Scotland with a Scottish PM, Scottish Chancellor, Scottish Speaker, without reference to the rest of the Union? At least Wales and Northern Ireland have their own Assemblies to argue for their interests. England as usual, is left with nothing but the bill.
It is imperative that an English Assembly or Parliament is convened in order to protect the interests of the people of England who are currently unrepresented nationally in the British constitutional settlement.
Chairman, the Campaign for an English Parliament
Scilla Cullen.01439 833155