Why progressive federalism is the answer
Communists say a federal republic as the best way forward for the peoples of Britain. It won’t solve any problems in itself. Real progress will depend on how far working people organise themselves to push forward socialist objectives. But it provides the best basis for doing so.
Communists oppose ‘devo max’. Instead they call for the retention and enhancement of the current principle whereby some tax income is redistributed across the nations and regions of Britain on the basis of social need. Such redistribution is essential because big business and wealth is overwhelmingly concentrated in the south-east In this respect Devo Max as a trap.
Making Scotland solely reliant on taxes raised in Scotland stops this redistribution. Even including taxes on oil and gas, the proceeds will be far too small to make up the current deficit. Depending on whether oil prices recover and how fast oil extraction declines, Scotland could be poorer by anything between £4 billion and £10 billion – more than the Tories have already cut.
The SNP case for Devo Max is that by controlling all taxes they could grow the economy by attracting more investment – especially external.
But that will mean cutting taxes on big business even further. Communists call, as we have for the past 80 years, for home rule parliaments with powers of public sector intervention, public ownership and greater borrowing powers – powers to reinforce the bargaining position of working people in each nation.
Taxes on wealth, capital and profits should be at federal level – uniting working people across Britain to secure the greatest level of redistribution.
Tom Morrison is Secretary of the Scottish Communist Party and was writing in the STUC conference issue of Unity!
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