No Deal Reached In Latest Holyrood Funding Talks

Crunch talks aimed at resolving how Holyrood will be funded when MSPs are handed new powers have broken up without a deal being reached.

The Scottish and UK governments have been locked in protracted negotiations on the issue for weeks, with one deadline for agreement having already passed.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney met Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands in London on Friday - the 10th round of talks between the two men.

The discussions are centred on how the block grant Scotland receives from Westminster will be adjusted when tax-raising powers are devolved.

SNP ministers had originally wanted an agreement in place by February 12.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon later told the Prime Minister a deal on the "key areas of principle'' needs to be in place by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, with the Scottish Parliament being dissolved next month ahead of May's elections, MSPs on the Devolution Committee have warned there would be "very substantial impacts'' on their ability to scrutinise any proposals if talks go beyond Friday.

The SNP administration in Edinburgh has been in lengthy negotiations with the UK Treasury over the fiscal framework, the financial deal which will underpin the new Scotland Bill.

The two governments must agree on how Scotland's budget - the block grant - should be adjusted to take into account new tax-raising powers being transferred to Holyrood.

Any deal must meet the principles of taxpayer fairness and ''no detriment'' - the idea that neither government should gain or lose financially simply as a result of the decision to devolve.

The Scottish Government has already warned it will pull the plug on the Scotland Bill by recommending MSPs veto the legislation if an agreement over funding cannot be found.

 

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