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Scottish Parliament (Financial Accountability)

Volume 522: debated on Wednesday 26 January 2011

14. What recent representations he has received from the Scottish Executive on the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament. (35137)

The most recent such representations related specifically to the financial provisions of the Scotland Bill, received around the time of its introduction on 30 November 2010. Since May last year, Scotland Office Ministers have not received any representations from Scottish Ministers describing the detail or the estimated economic impact of any alternative proposals to deliver financial accountability to the Scottish Parliament.

On average, the Government spend about £7,000 a year per person in England, but they spend about £8,500 per person in Scotland. What comfort can the Minister give to my hard-pressed taxpayers in Harlow that their money is being spent wisely?

The Government understand that concerns have been expressed about the Barnett formula, but their priority is the stabilisation of the public finances. That is our priority for this Parliament.

While the VAT rise was swift, we are still waiting for the rural fuel derogation in the islands. In my constituency, fuel costs £1.45 a litre, but I have information that, in the tiny Faroe Islands, the price is 94p a litre for diesel and £1.10 for petrol. The islands control their own fuel taxation. Should not Scotland, with 5 million people, have at least the powers of an island group of 48,000?

I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would be pleased that we finally have a Government who are taking forward the issue of fuel prices in remote and rural areas and who are looking to hold a pilot in constituencies such as his to establish how exactly it would operate in practice.