By Dillon Kennedy
There is one chance to throw a devastating blow to the SNP and their relentless effort of a second independence referendum.
Although the polls have been consistent with the premise that the SNP will win a majority , the polls have been wrong in the past and you can't fully trust that this will be the outcome especially in light of recent events. But let's say the SNP do win a majority in Holyrood, they won't use this as a mandate to build Scotland back from the effects of the pandemic but instead rip Scotland out of the United Kingdom. We know this because the first minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined this in an 11 point plan or a Road to a Referendum last week. We don't need this and we certainly don't want to see the money wasted on another referendum. What we need our government post pandemic to focus on things that matter not just to half the population of Scotland or SNP supporters but every person in scotland struggling after covid.
The SNP can state that being in the UK does nothing for Scotland and we would be better off independent but i believe Scotland would not have survived through the current pandemic if not for the funding by the UK Government. The UK Treasury has guaranteed £8.6 billion of additional funding to the Scottish Government this year which will support those businesses affected by the pandemic , but it seems only a fraction of it has gone to businesses who need it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer , The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak announced that he has extended the UK Government's furlough scheme to the end of April, paying 80 percent of wages for people in Scotland. The self-employed support scheme has been extended to the end of April, with the UK Government having already paid out over £817 million to 162,000 people in Scotland. Jointly these schemes have supported more than 930,000 jobs in Scotland. The Furlough Scheme and the Self employed scheme continue to be provided with incredible speed thanks to the ingenuity and expertise of HMRC. More than 79,000 Scottish businesses have also benefitted from £2.9 billion UK Government Bounce Back and Coronavirus Business Interruption loans.
The UK Government's and the Treasury support continues in 2021-22 with the Spending Review 2020 confirming an additional £2.4 billion of funding for the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula, including £1.3 billion in relation to tackling the pandemic. This takes the total of UK Government Barnett-based funding to the Scottish Government in 2021 and 2022 to over £38 billion. Without the additional funding from the UK Government and the treasury, there would be no furlough scheme or even business support to help families all over the country live and if we were independent then there would be some dark days ahead. This is not fear mongering but facts. If you look at the figures released from the last independence referendum in 2014 , it cost the taxpayer £15.8M to run the campaign most of it was spent on advertising the 400 + Page White Paper on Independence. Surely this money could be used elsewhere to improve communities, invest in infrastructure or even help businesses struggling. This is what the government focus should be on, the issues that matter to me and you, not another divisive vote on whether Scotland should remain part of the UK or be Independent.
You can agree or disagree with me on this but without the support of the UK Government, Scotland would have struggled for the past year. Due in no small part to the fact that Nicola has other priorities.
IMAGE CREDIT: ITV news