Tim Rideout is a leading SNP MEMBER who advocates cooperation between all groups and parties within the YES Movement. He is an economist who runs his own Map company. so it is safe to presume he knows his way about. He is someone I have always found made sensible arguments. He was the man mainly responsible for the SNP CONFERENCE supporting our own Independent currency. A decision the Party Leadership have studiously avoided implementing as policy. At the recent SNP Conference he supported two complimentary developments. I publish his speeches on both topics as they are both worthy and interesting. I suspect his biggest challenge lies ahead in convincing the SNP leadership to honour and implement these resolutions. Past experience suggests that won’t be easy.
The Scottish Reserve Bank (Establishment) Bill Passed by 418 to 37 votes
In April 2019 you rejected the Growth Commission sterlingisation in Appendix C.
You voted instead that Scotland should start the preparations for our own currency.
You wanted that to happen as soon as possible after a vote for independence.
The aim was to introduce our new currency as soon as practicable after Independence Day.
This recognised the fact that no advanced economy has ever sought to use the currency of another nation. To try to do so would be to start probably the most dangerous experiment in global monetary history.
So, we need to follow the tried and trusted safe route taken by almost every country to become independent, and that is to have our own currency.
We will use the Scottish Pound – and not the English one.
Having a central bank is a key component of having our own currency. It is also a pre-requisite for applying to rejoin the European Union. Using sterling rules out any EU membership application. So we must plan for that too.
Planning is key. After the Brexit vote London was in a ‘what do we do now’ state of total unpreparedness. It would be inexcusable for us to find ourselves in a similar position when we win Independence, however that is achieved. We will need to be ready, so we hit the ground running. Two years, or whatever it turns out to be, for a transition to Independence Day will go very quickly.
On the currency front there are things we can do now. One of those is to draft the bill to establish the Scottish Reserve Bank as the new central bank of Scotland. That gets us to the point where we are ready to introduce that legislation the day after we vote. Bear in mind it will likely take six months to be approved by Parliament.
The resolution before you is a very truncated version of what Dalkeith Branch submitted. Conference Committee deleted two thirds, namely clauses A to F of the principles for that draft bill. As those are the key elements, I will explain them briefly to you. They are important.
Critically, the Reserve Bank will be owned and controlled by the Scottish Government. It will be the monetary authority, meaning it will create Scottish pounds. It will own the Scottish payments system, and it will be banker to the State.
Vitally, we need to ensure it is under the control of Parliament and answerable at all times to us and our elected representatives. That means things like US style confirmatory hearings for the appointment of the Governor, annual reports, and appearances before parliamentary committees. Accountability is key.
That is because as the monetary authority it will establish and issue the new Scottish currency. It will also set interest rates for lending to commercial banks, and it will work in collaboration with other with other international central banks. That means it will hold and manage our foreign reserves on behalf of the Finance Ministry.
At home, it will maintain the Scottish Government’s accounts and will provide such loan and overdraft facilities as are required to achieve the government’s fiscal policies, such as full employment and the Green New Deal.
Lastly, as envisaged by Douglas Chapman MP, it could manage a Scottish Sovereign Wealth Fund.
The Amendment to the resolution provides a forum to discuss those principles and I would urge you to support that.
In nearly 50 talks around Scotland, it is clear to me that you, Delegates, know that there is only one choice. That is our own currency. Let us start that process now, by voting in favour of the resolution
A SCOTTISH CIVIL SERVICE Passed by 364 votes to 64
I am an economist who makes maps, and so I am interested not just in what happens in the economy, but where it happens. That is issues such as national development between countries, decentralisation and regional inequalitieswithin countries.
It is no coincidence that successful countries usually have well diversified regional economies. One of the best examples is Germany where there is no dominant city – Berlin is only a third the population of London – and civil service jobs and departments are dispersed across the nation. The UK, by contrast, is one of the most centralised countries in the World. That is not just legal control from Westminster, but in terms of economic activity. London acts, in many ways, as a giant leach. The South East is overcrowded while houses and factories stand empty further north. The concentration of government departments and the associated well paid civil service jobs – hundreds of thousands of them – simply reinforces London’s dominance.
The current 7,500 Scottish Government staff are mostly Edinburgh based, as are those in Alistair Jack’s new Union Jack branded Imperial HQ. It would be very easy, therefore,for Indy Scotland to fall into the same trap as London if we do not recognise the issue and take steps to avoid it. We will not have a happy and successful nation if areas outside the Central Belt do not share in the benefits of Independence. Many areas already have problems of aging and depopulation, for example, as younger people leave for better opportunities elsewhere.
This resolution seeks to ensure that the Scottish Government leads by example. It is a very practical way to demonstrate commitment to a well-being economy. There is no reason for Ministries and Agencies to all be in Edinburgh or Glasgow, and indeed they should not be. Zoom has taught us all about modern communications! Similar size countries – Denmark – have around 50,000 core civil servants, so we will be adding thousands more posts as we establish Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, and right down to my area of interest in our own replacement for Ordnance Survey.
The resolution specifies that the civil service jobs should be fairly distributed across our 32 councils in proportion to their populations. It also recognises that remote, rural and deprived areas can be helped to overcome those issues by an extra allocation of new civil service jobs, and thus proposes a minimum 20% uplift. That would apply to areas like Dumfries & Galloway, Inverclyde and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
What does this look like? 1970 posts for Dumfries – the Ministry of Agriculture maybe. 355 for the Western Isles – Coastguard HQ perhaps? 2654 for Aberdeenshire and 2310 for the City – Ministry of Energy and the National Energy Company? 1510 for Dundee as we add remaining benefits and pensions to Social Security Scotland.
And so the list goes on.It isn’t just the civil servant either, as there is probably a partner and often a family.
We already pay the wages of these extra civil servants – they are just in London – so it isn’t an additional cost. London gets the spending and the tax, but sends us the bill. Moving it all to Scotland is an additional benefit because those wages will be spent here and the tax will be collected by Revenue Scotland. I would also add we must build a civil service that suits us. We do not need an Ofcom, Ofgem or a rail regulator for example.
Delegates, let us take this important step forward in our preparation for Independence
I would have no problem supporting both these resolutions and commend Tim’s eloquent explanations of the intention and effect these moves involve. I find it easy to work with Tim and I am sure there are many others that I can agree with in the SNP. WE MUST NOT ALLOW THE STRONG DISAGREEMENTS WE HAVE WITH THE CURRENT SNP LEADERSHIP lead to division at all the other levels.They will not be there forever.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
BEAT THE CENSORS
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