Magazine article Public Finance

Independence Will Aid 'Cohesiveness'

Magazine article Public Finance

Independence Will Aid 'Cohesiveness'

Article excerpt

An independent Scotland would use public finances creatively to meet longterm policy goals, Finance Secretary John Swinney told delegates at the annual CIPFA Scotland conference in Dundee on March 14-15.

In his address, Swinney sought to rise above partisanship on the referendum debate by stressing the social issues on which there was broad agreement. He cited the progress made on tackling smoking, alcoholism, illiteracy and heart disease. He added that since the Scottish National Party government came into power in 2007, it had built on work begun under the previous LabourLiberal Democrat administrations.

'There's a heck of a lot of stuff we agree on about how to tackle deeply set health outcomes, literacy challenges and other social problems,' he said.

Swinney also pointed to concordant recent evidence-based reports from Holyrood committees on demographic change and employability. 'That's the kind of mature thinking that helps the policy process,' he said. 'It creates a better frame for policy- and decisionmaking that is cohesive and transcends the three-year budget process.'

He contrasted this with the coalition's benefit reforms, which he said coerced people into seeking employment but failed to create job opportunities for them. …

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