New independent analysis of the SNP’s plan for fiscal autonomy and the scrapping of the Barnett Formula has revealed the cost to Scotland’s health budget – a £2 billion cut.
The figures were revealed by independent and impartial research commissioned by Scottish Labour from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) .
The cost of the SNP’s plans for Scottish only taxes to support Scottish spending would see a £6.5 billion cut to public spending.
If this was equally spread across Government departments the health impact would be reduced from just over £12 billion today to just over £10 billion.
Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Douglas Alexander said:
“My mum worked in our local hospitals for years. Our brilliant local NHS staff are being pushed to breaking point because of government failings.
“In recent weeks patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital have had to wait over 12 hours to be seen at A&E and operations have been cancelled because of a lack of beds. The RAH was the first hospital in the country where the problems were so serious that specialist teams had to be sent in.
“Local people are demanding action and a plan to protect our NHS.
“Barnett has resulted in higher and more stable public spending in Scotland for decades - which will next year will be worth over £1,200 to each man, woman and child in Scotland. “The SNP want to scrap Barnett and it’s been revealed that this plan would cut Scotland’s health budget by £2 billion. Instead of providing the additional support our NHS needs, SNP plans would mean a huge cut in its funding.
“My plan to protect our NHS is to keep Barnett and use a Mansion Tax across the UK to fund more nurses for the RAH. And a new £100m fund will tackle A&E waiting times.”
New independent analysis of the SNP’s plan for fiscal autonomy and the scrapping of the Barnett Formula has revealed the cost to Scotland’s health budget – a £2 billion cut....
Local MP Douglas Alexander has said a new report shows the need to continue to press the Scottish government to act to help Paisley town centre.
The report by PwC shows that found an average of six high street chain stores closed every week across Scotland last year. While the figure was similar to 2013's, fewer new stores took their place.
It follows a recent report by the Local Data Company that showed 1 in 5 shops in Paisley town centre were lying empty.
Douglas Alexander said:
All of us know that Paisley town centre, like many towns across Scotland, has been hit hard by the recession. Having grown up here in Renfrewshire I remember the Woolworths, the Arnotts, the Littlewoods and the Pitchers Sports that were features of the town centre in past decades.
“Over the past decade, under the previous SNP council, we saw shops leave Paisley High Street. That's why I welcome the action now being taken by the Labour led Council. The establishment of a Business Investment District in the town will encourage support for local retailers and businesses.
“Recently I visited the new My Pad student accommodation development above the Piazza. It's important to encourage more people back into living in the town centre.
“The Council has also had huge success with bringing events to Paisley, such as the Christmas lights switch on and the Monte Carlo Rally, to attract visitors to the town centre. And the work on the redevelopment of the Arnotts site is also an important signal of progress.
"The Council is fighting tooth and nail to bring investment to the area but there is a limit to how effective they can be without the proper support from the Scottish Government.
“This report needs to be a wakeup call to the SNP Government that more help is needed for our town centres.”
Link to story - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-31869355
Local MP Douglas Alexander has said a new report shows the need to continue to press the Scottish government to act to help Paisley town centre. The report by PwC...
The next Labour Government will give the energy regulator the legal duty to ensure prices are fair and the power to cut bills this winter, says local MP Douglas Alexander.
The new law will put an immediate end to the overcharging by the Big Six energy firms which consumer groups estimate is costing families and businesses £2.5 billion a year.
Over the last year wholesale energy prices have fallen by an average of 20 per cent but the Big Six energy firms have reduced gas bills by a meagre one per cent to five per cent - while electricity bills have not been cut at all.
Labour has already declared that it would freeze prices – so they can only fall and not rise - for 20 months while the energy market is reset.
But this new law plans goes further by setting a clear timetable for changes so that consumers pay fair prices this coming winter.
In one of the first Bills of the new Parliament, Labour will give Ofgem a legal duty to review prices by the autumn – and the power to order price reductions in time for the winter.
The consumer group Which? says that further cuts of up to 10 per cent in gas and electricity bills should be made this year.
Such a reduction would save the typical family at least £100 this winter, on top of the savings they will get from Labour’s plan to freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017.
Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Douglas Alexander said:
“Unlike the SNP or the Tories, a Labour government will stand up to the big energy firms.
“Many local people in Renfrewshire have really struggled to pay their heating bills this winter.
“People have been shivering in their homes because they are frightened that turning the thermostat up will leave them with a bill they can’t afford to pay.
“The Big Six energy companies have ripped people off for too long. The next Labour government would freeze energy bills – so they can only go down and not up.
“Both the Tories and SNP have refused to back this energy prize freeze.
“In the last few months the cost of energy to the Big Six firms fell by 20 per cent. But the sky-high prices that families pay have only fallen by a fraction of that. Gas bills have declined by between one per cent and five per cent. Electricity bills haven’t fallen at all.
“So the next Labour government won’t just freeze prices, we will pass a law to give the energy regulator a legal duty to ensure the falling costs for the big energy companies are passed on to consumers.”
The energy market isn’t working for working people
The typical household energy bill has increased by over £300 since the last election, the number of families with children who can't afford to heat their homes is at an all-time high, while three out of four families are being overcharged.
Energy companies hike prices when the cost of energy rises but don’t cut them properly when it falls.
The energy market is dominated by six companies that supply to over 90 per cent of homes and generate 70 per cent of the power we use. Limited competition and weak regulation has weakened the incentives to keep prices low. When the wholesale price of energy rises, energy companies have passed this on to consumers but when it drops consumers don’t see the benefit of this through reductions in bills.
Since David Cameron entered Downing Street energy companies hiked up bills by an average of 10.4 per cent a year between 2011 and 2013, blaming rising energy costs. In the last year, wholesale gas prices have fallen by an estimated 22 per cent whilst electricity prices have fallen by 17 per cent. But the Big Six have only passed on a fraction of this to consumers who have seen reductions of just between 1 per cent and 5 per cent for gas and nothing for electricity.
Consumer groups say more can be done:
Which? estimates that a further eight to 10 per cent cut in gas bills and 10 per cent cut in electricity bills are possible this year. This would save families a total of almost £2.5 billion a year – at least £100 off their annual fuel bill.
We will introduce legislation in the first months after taking office to freeze prices, so they can fall and not rise, and give the regulator the power to cut prices and a duty to review prices and act in time for winter.
We will then reset the market so that it delivers a better deal for working families by forcing energy companies to separate out the parts of the business that generate energy from the parts that sell to homes and businesses; requiring them to trade their energy on a pool; introducing a simple new tariff structure; and creating a tough new energy watchdog with new powers to police the market.