Sunday, 22 February 2009

Wee Eck Tighten Yer Belt - Darling

Alistair Darling has told Alex Salmond if Westminster can make efficiency savings so can Holyrood.

The First Minister has used the £500m cut that efficiency savings in Westminster in a number of ways. Either as a slight on Labour in Westminster to his own administration in Scotland or as a reason to pull out of putting Local Income Tax before the Parliament in this session. However, the one thing the Nats have not been prepared to do is acknowledge that efficiency savings can be made. Indeed when the Scottish Liberal Democrats suggested that some could be made to bring about a lowering of income tax it was laughed out of hand.

Darling speaking on today's BBC Politics Show Scotland said there would be "no ifs, no buts" these efficiency savings would go ahead. Going on to say:

"We've said we need to get £5bn worth of efficiencies out of the system. When you're spending over £600bn a year, most people will think if they're pulling in their belt, why can't Government?

"But I just do not believe that Alex Salmond can stand up, hand on heart and say that the Scottish Government can't be more efficient.

"Rather than blustering about it he might be better employed sitting down and working out how the Scottish Government could be more efficient."

But Alex has always been a blusterer. Something that works fine in opposition but hardly advantageous to Government when you normally need a calm head to lead along the correct course.

So can the SNP look for savings? Yes.

Is it prudent to do so? Yes it is a time of economic downturn and everyone is looking to make things more efficient to get bet value out of what is spent.

Will they do it? Now that is the question.

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