The SNP need to explain how they would pay for social justice policies under independence – Daily Record

The party’s new Commission contains a series of worthwhile policy ideas, but the hard graft will be producing a credible plan on paying for them

Parts of the SNP’s Social Justice and Fairness Commission will be welcomed by progressives across the political aisle.

Although many of the Commission’s recommendations relate to independence, scrapping Tory welfare policies is a principle people on the centre-left can sign up to.

The report’s commitment to eradicating poverty is to be applauded, while the support for higher state pension payments is certainly eye-catching.

The problem for the SNP is not the policies per se, rather it is coming up with a credible way of funding their wish list.

Before the pandemic struck, Scotland had a huge budget deficit which, if rolled over into independence, would constrain policy options.

Given the UK Government’s state interventions over the past 14 months, it is inevitable the deficit north of the border will have increased even further.

The report backs a Land Value Tax and “sin taxes”, but questions will be raised over their ability to meet the costs of the hugely ambitious proposals.

An earlier SNP prospectus on independence – the Sustainable Growth Commission – is another headache for Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

By contrast, the social justice commission advocates a set of policies that would take the leash off public spending.

A fair counter argument is the SNP has effectively turned its back on the Growth Commission, given that it was written before covid arrived.

But in the absence of a revised economic blueprint the SNP are left with expensive policy options and no pot of gold to pay for them.

Painting a picture of a better future is commendable. The hard part will be finding the money.

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