The Growth Commission is in reality more of a Cuts Commission
It was a document almost two-years in the making
Stretching to over 300 pages, it was built-up as the vehicle to propel Scotland to a second independence referendum on a wave of nationalist optimism.
Authored by a corporate lobbyist and former banker with RBS, the Growth Commission was supposed to reboot the case for Scotland leaving the UK instead it appears to be gathering dust on a shelf, banned from debate at SNP conference
The Fraser of Allander Institute said that the report ‘opens up some important questions about the ‘type’ of Scotland we wish to see in the future.’
The First Minister said it would inform the debate about what she calls the ‘opportunities of independence.’
Yet just a few short months later it seems the SNP want to it hide away and stop any real debate of their Growth Commission at their own conference.
The Growth Commission is in reality more of a Cuts Commission, locking Scotland into at least a decade of further and deeper austerity.
The report makes clear the SNP's economic vision for our country is one which protects the interests of big corporations and the privileged few instead of our vital public services.
It is a prospectus based on a hard decade of public spending contraction, and even deeper cuts than those implemented by George Osborne in order to drive down the public sector deficit from 8.3 per cent of GDP to below 3 per cent over the course of a decade or less.
It proposes a £5 billion ‘Annual Solidarity Payment’ which is almost the entire Scottish Government education and justice budgets combined to be sent to the rest of the UK Treasury.
It is based on a prospectus for independence built not on sovereignty regained but more accurately on sovereignty lost.
Sovereignty lost over interest rate policy, mortgage rate policy, exchange rate policy, inflation policy money supply policy and corporation tax policy.
Under the SNP’s plans, a Scotland separated from the rest of the UK would operate an economic model which relies heavily on foreign direct investment, on large multinational corporations and labour market “flexicurity”.
No wonder the Commission consulted twenty business organisations but not a single trade union.
The Growth Commission has delivered a clear choice to voters in Scotland.
On one side there is Labour, offering an end to austerity and more intervention in our economy.
We believe in a Scotland where the public pound is used to drive up skills and wages, not handed over to big corporations in the form of tax breaks.
We have a vision for Scotland where the richest pay their fair share and no child grows up hungry.
A Scotland where no pensioner has to choose between eating or heating their home.
A Scotland where our public services have the funding they need.
On the other side our opponents promote a fiscal agenda in thrall to big business and slavishly following the mantra of deficit reduction.
They will risk trade with our nearest neighbours by a sense of political isolationism.
There is no space for trade unions or workers’ rights as part of a strategy to promote economic growth.
That’s not just the Tory vision for the economy – it is now Nicola Sturgeon’s too.
Passing on Tory cuts and implementing their own to health, education and local government is not governing in the interests of the many, and nor is it standing up for Scotland.
No wonder the Growth Commission didn’t make the cut for conference debates.
Nicola Sturgeon can try and silence her members from debate, but she cannot hide that the only party now standing for an end to austerity, for the real and radical change that will transform the lives of working class people in Scotland for the better, is the Labour party.