The SNP has seized on a warning that public spending cuts would be greater in Scotland under the Calman commission’s financial plans to change devolution.
Professors Andrew Hughes Hallett and Drew Scott, academics of Edinburgh and St Andrews universities, have warned that Calman changes will have a "more severe" effect in Scotland than in other parts of the UK, and that recommendations from the commission could result in a 25% cut in spending, lost income tax revenue and an inability to use higher VAT to compensate.
Commenting on the findings, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:
"The Calman financial proposals have been overtaken by events, and exposed as the London parties’ Poll Tax – with Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems all planning to impose this financial whammy on Scotland when what we need is real financial responsibility.
"The emergency Budget last week shows why Calman couldn’t work, while the GERS figures showing a Scottish surplus of £1.3 billion compared to a UK-wide deficit of £48.9 billion completes the case for Scotland to be responsible for our own resources.
"With the Tory/LibDem budget threatening Scottish growth and the Labour party unable to protect Scotland – having created the mess in the first place – only financial responsibility and independence for Scotland can help Scotland’s economy grow more strongly and build recovery."
The report by the leading academics is a major blow to the Unionist parties who set up the commission and a huge boost to the Campaign for Fiscal Responsibility, launched this month with a call for Scottish ministers to control taxes, social welfare and have borrowing powers.
The findings also come as reports emerge of a new major oil find in Scottish waters that could yield up to 300 million barrels of oil.