Willie Rennie MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

Is Mike MacKenzie serious? Does he think that controlling the public debt is not important? Is that what he is saying?



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

No—I have taken too many interventions.

I have a suggestion for how Mr Swinney can restore his reputation—he could adopt some of the Liberal Democrats’ proposed policies. Earlier this week, my colleague Danny Alexander published our plans to introduce a special rate of corporation tax on the banks. Now that Mr Swinney has abandoned his corporation tax policy, perhaps that might encourage him to support Danny Alexander’s corporation tax proposal, which would bring an extra £1 billion to help us to balance the UK’s books.

John Swinney and I might agree on some aspects, and especially on a fairer society. The Liberal Democrats agree with expanding childcare and we would like him to accelerate that expansion earlier. We also encourage him to adopt our policy of cutting tax for those who are on low and middle incomes. I know that SNP members have opposed that policy, so I hope that he reverses that position. I encourage John Swinney to listen to what the Liberal Democrats have to say on the economy, because that might be one way in which he might start to restore his reputation.

I move amendment S4M-12521.3, to leave out from “condemns” to end and insert:

“notes the publication of the Scottish Government’s new economic strategy and the abandonment of its previous policy to anchor its approach to the economy on a cut of 3p in the pound on corporation tax; further notes that the economic policy of the UK Government has created six times as many jobs in Scotland in less than a quarter of the time compared with the projections for the now-abandoned Scottish Government policy; understands that the Scottish Ministers defended to the Scottish Information Commissioner their right to withhold information on the cost in lost revenues of their corporation tax cut, including on the grounds set out by an official that it ‘may lead to opposition parties starting a debate’; considers that, now that the policy has been abandoned, ministers should publish the information on the lost revenues for the initial years of implementation forthwith; calls on the Scottish Government to indicate if its U-turn on corporation tax now means that it will support an increase in the corporation tax paid by banks in order to increase the contribution of the banking system to balancing the UK’s books, and further calls on the Scottish Government to change its position on a further aspect of creating a fairer society and to support a further cut in income tax for those on low and middle incomes by raising the personal allowance to £12,500.”

15:19  

Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

Mr Findlay might think that Mr Swinney was embarrassed by the prospect of having to explain the corporation tax policy, but I am sure that that is not the case and that Mr Swinney will give us a full explanation in summing up. I am sure that members will be delighted to hear whether there is an explanation.

Is the reason that the UK Government’s economic policy has created six times as many jobs in Scotland in less than a quarter of the time that Mr Swinney’s policy proposed? Is it that the evidence for the Scottish Government’s policy was so weak that it could never be made public? We tried repeatedly, including through the Scottish Information Commissioner, to get details about how many jobs would be lost in the first few years under such a policy. At one point, one of Mr Swinney’s officials said that releasing the information might lead to Opposition parties starting a debate. Heaven forfend that we should ever know the real reasons for the policy.

Mr Swinney has made three big errors—on oil, on the economy and now on corporation tax. His reputation is beginning to crumble.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

Yes and yes. I absolutely agree with Mark McDonald, probably not for the first time but maybe for the last.

The latest blow to Mr Swinney’s reputation was dealt by a most surprising source this week. His party leader abandoned his policy on corporation tax, with no explanation, on page 80 of 82 pages—the fag end of the document—on a wet Tuesday afternoon. The 3p cut in corporation tax was at the heart of the white paper and the heart of the referendum. Mr Swinney defended and advocated the cut, and now his leader has ditched it.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

Not just now.

That would have decimated hospital, school, college and university budgets. Thankfully, the no vote in September saved us from feeling the effects of John Swinney’s reckless claims. Because we chose to remain in the UK, we can all focus on addressing the jobs crisis that the industry is facing in the north-east and throughout Scotland. I know that most members will take that seriously. He got it wrong on oil too.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

I hear Stewart Stevenson talking over my shoulder.

However, in just a few short months, that persona has started to crumble. Let us take the performance on the economy. John Swinney said that the UK Government’s economic plan would fail, that there would be higher unemployment and lower employment, and that growth would not return to the economy. However, now what do we see? Employment is at a record high—it is up by 187,000 in Scotland since 2010. Wages are outstripping inflation and the UK is vying with the United States of America for the fastest growth among G7 countries. John Swinney got it wrong on the economy.

Then we have to look at the second oil boom. John Swinney boldly predicted that the price of a barrel of oil would remain at $110. He claimed that oil revenues would make an independent Scotland one of the richest countries in the world, but oil is half the price that he predicted, which means that he has fallen short by £155 million per day.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

I am worried about John Swinney, whose carefully crafted persona is that he is cool, reasonable, competent and safe. That is the public persona that he has worked hard to craft, unlike most nationalists.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie (Mid Scotland and Fife) (LD)

Is the Deputy First Minister about to praise the United Kingdom Government’s economic policy? I am sorry to pre-empt what I know he is about to say.



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

None of that is new. Levels of delayed discharge have been soaring; cancer treatment and accident and emergency waiting-time targets have been missed; and—this is critical—our dedicated national health service staff are under increasing strain, with alarming amounts of work in Fife.

Patients there are waiting for answers. What is the longest that the First Minister is prepared to wait to see Fife turn around?



Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2015 Business until 16:03 : Thursday, March 05, 2015
Willie Rennie

NHS Fife’s standards have been below target in 10 out of 19 areas since October. Performance has got worse since Christmas. There is an internal review, but, as a former health secretary, the First Minister must have some insight into why people in Fife seem to be getting a raw deal. Why have things got so bad in Fife?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12521.2 Jackie Baillie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendme
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NoDefeated

S4M-12521.1 Gavin Brown: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendment
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YesDefeated

S4M-12521.3 Willie Rennie: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—As an amendmen
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YesDefeated

S4M-12521 John Swinney: Protecting Public Services and Boosting Scotland’s Economy—That the Parliame
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NoCarried

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
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NoCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
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YesDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
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NoCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
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NoCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
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NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Willie Rennie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12521.3: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 04/03/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12491: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 02/03/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12447: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12382.2: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12095.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11993.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11925: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 16/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10843.1.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10724.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10430.1: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Willie Rennie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02627: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24660: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24661: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24656: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24657: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24658: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24659: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24598: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24599: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24600: Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 23/02/2015 Show Full Question >>

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