Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Free Prescriptions And School Meals In Scotland

Quite right, too. Introduce these nationwide and deduct the cost from the block grant to a body which, after all, has fiscal powers of its own, but has never used them. Do the same for student feees, for free personal care for the elderly, and for whatever else might come up. Easy.


  1. Query David:- in Northern Ireland children start school at four rather than five, as in the rest of the UK. Do you think the cost of this extra schooling should be deducted from NI's budget to fund an extra year's schooling throughout the UK rather than forcing parents to pay for a year's childcare?

    Why should other Britons have to put their children on nursery waiting lists when their children can go to school a year early?

    Apart from of course all the extra costs accrued from sectarian based schooling and a selective schooling system.

    I doubt NI would have much money after paying out for this priveledge.

    As you would say, why not Westminster not abolish this extra year of schooling in Northern Ireland.

  2. If the Northern Ireland Assembly had the fiscal powers to do this itself, then yes. The Scottish Parliament has such powers.

  3. But then the all-knowing, all-seeing House of Commons should give equality for all Britons by merely abolishing that extra year's education at state largesse.

    You have been advocating something like that towards Scotland, i.e. Westminster interference in devolved matters. Why not Northern Ireland?

    Scotland is getting no extra spending due to these policies. These policies are being paid out of the bloc grant which is being allocated by London under the Barnett formula and being allocated funds by the Scottish government's budget for this block grant.

  4. Westminster cannot "interfere" in devolved matters. That such legislation is in no sense "interference" is what makes those matters devolved.

    I am proposing no cuts in Scotland, where the fiscal powers would simply be used, but significant improvements elsewhere, without overall tax increases anywhere. Win, win.

    Unless the SNP tried to make a point by refusing to use the fiscal powers and instead implementing cuts. Wich wouldn't go down well with Scottish voters. Would it?