Kwik Fit boss Sir Tom Farmer has described the case for Scotland moving to full fiscal autonomy as “overwhelming”.
In a letter to The Herald newspaper, Sir Tom, one of Scotland’s most successful businessmen, claims that only full fiscal autonomy can address Scotland’s economic woes and that the extra powers proposed by the Unionist dominated Calman Commission are a half way house that will inevitably fail.
In his letter Sir Tom says:
“We have a parliament that spends money but does not raise it, a gulf in responsibility no business manager would tolerate. I welcome the Calman Commission’s recommendations on moving devolution forward with the transfer of responsibilities over such areas as drink-drive limits, air guns and elections.
“However, on the financial settlement, the commission’s recommendations seem to represent a half-way house at best. Half-way houses never work. That is why I want to add my voice to those calling for full fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament.”
The Kwik Fit boss goes on to argue that only through full fiscal autonomy can the Scottish government acquire the levers necessary to effect the positive change required in order to address the nations historic economic malaise.
He also points to the current lack of fiscal responsibility endemic in the current system and suggests that the parliaments time would be better spent on decisions that might increase real prosperity rather than wasting time on “minor accounting changes”
Sir Tom added:
“Every year we spend debating cosmetic financial changes carries a huge opportunity cost. And if the proposals we are seeing now are targeted only at minor accounting changes, rather than levers that will help the country increase the prosperity of the people of Scotland, then these [Calman] recommendations are meaningless.”
Sir Tom also pointed out that despite Scotland being a wealthy country there are too many children living in poverty, he also attacked those who held a “Scotland cannot do” attitude and added “I believe in Scotland’s future”.
Sir Tom highlighted the recent events at Westminster as evidence that London was no longer the place to look for answers.
He ended by suggesting that full fiscal autonomy was the real election issue for Scotland and urged Scottish business and civic leaders to get behind his calls.
SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie welcomed Sir Tom Farmer's backing for full fiscal autonomy.
Mr Hosie said:
"Sir Tom's call for Holyrood to be responsible for raising all the money it spends is very welcome. As one of Scotland's most successful and respected businessmen, his endorsement carries enormous weight and will hopefully encourage others to support this commonsense solution to the country's funding needs.
"The case for full fiscal autonomy has never been more urgent. At a time when all the London parties are sizing up Scotland's budget for savage cuts, we need the ability to grow our own economy to spread wealth and help protect vital public services.
"The time has come for Scotland to take full responsibility for its own finances."