Labour are now calling for borrowing powers for the Parliament which brings it in line with both the SNP and Liberal Democrats. They may have mocked when Tavish Scott got an agreement out of Alex Salmod to present to Calman on this, as one of the conditions for backing the budget. But now it seems to have persuaded Labour to also get on board on this one so maybe a stronger devolved Scotland is still on the cards. Indeed the Labour MSP with responsibility for the Calman Commission Pauline McNeill said:
"I am also convinced that Holyrood should have prudential borrowing powers, which would allow us to develop a more coherent strategy for fighting the recession. Labour's submission supports the conclusion of (economist] Anton Muscatelli that borrowing powers are closely allied to revenue-raising powers."
So there you have it. A future budget to help us through the recession may well be more easily paved if such working together on these issues may well grease the road to consensus.
It does not however throw the doors open for all five of John Swinney's steps to independence.
- Current framework Scottish Parliament can vary tax by 3p
- Assigned Revenues Budget determined by amount of revenue collected in Scotland. No power to alter taxes and no block grant
- Enhanced devolution powers Holyrood able to set some taxes. Limited borrowing powers
- Full fiscal autonomy Taxes set in Scotland. Percentage of revenue paid to Westminster for defence and foreign affairs
- Independence All revenues collected in Scotland. Holyrood able to borrow and determine monetary policy