Anger over LibDems' Tax Policy
Byline: IAN SMITH
LABOUR launched a withering attack on its Liberal Democrat coalition partners yesterday after they backed plans to pull Scotland out of the UK tax system.
Delegates at the LibDems' Scottish conference voted to adopt 'fiscal autonomy' - making Holyrood responsible for setting and collecting its own taxes - as official party policy.
But Labour, which is strongly opposed to such a move, warned it could see up to [pounds sterling]8billion slashed from the country's public services budget.
The vote, at the LibDem conference in Dundee, was an embarrassment for party leader Jim Wallace, who had hoped to sideline the issue.
Against his wishes, delegates voted 52 to 48 in favour of giving the Scottish Executive full power over taxation north of the Border.
At present, a significant proportion of Scotland's [pounds sterling]23billion annual budget is made up of extra funding from the UK Treasury, awarded under the Barnett formula to compensate for the country's higher levels of deprivation.
But a spokesman for First Minister Jack McConnell last night warned that if Holyrood were made entirely responsible for Scots taxes, this advantage could disappear altogether. …