My visit to meet the Scottish Government – SNP big spenders to subsidise jobs

About three years ago I was lucky enough to visit Scotland as part of a local authority leadership program.

One of the key meetings was with a MSP minister from the Scottish National Party. It was clear that after a lifetime of minority politics the SNP were very skilled in making things work to their advantage and knew how to build a concensus.

What was interesting was the discussion we had with the minister about finance. He was asked why we could not find any signs of austerity in the Scottish local authorities, particularly as the rest of the UK was really struggling.

His response was that the cuts suffered by the English would not happen in Scotland because his SNP party considered local authorities as job creation schemes. He was clear that it was these people, who relied on these false public jobs, who would keep them in power.

He even said that given the small number of people in Scotland most of the local authorities could be removed and services would not be affected, but it was never going to happen, to save jobs.

It was clear to all of us who visited, that the state was bloated in Scotland, and largely paid for by the rest of the UK. In any case, if the yes vote wins I will wager tax rises are inevitable for the Sottish people or a slashing of services.

The group I was part of was made up of local authority leaders from Labour, the Greens and Conservatives together with chief execs from all around the country. All of us felt envious at the high level of funding the Scottish local authorities enjoyed.

Reality is about to hit I suspect.

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