• 10 April 2015
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The main political parties hit the election campaign trail ahead of the vote in May Labour leader Ed Miliband has said the SNP's backing for Scotland to take full control of taxation would leave a £7.6bn hole in its finances.
Campaigning in Edinburgh, Mr Miliband said taxes would have to be raised or borrowing increased in Scotland if it gained full fiscal autonomy.
But SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland could grow its economy without suffering more Westminster cuts.
She said the Conservatives supported more Labour-backed spending reductions.
The Scottish budget is traditionally funded by a block grant from the Treasury, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ] - which Ms Sturgeon this week said could be voted for by SNP MPs as early as next year - would see the nation, in future, having to raise enough cash to cover all its public spending.
Mr Miliband, campaigning with shadow chancellor Ed Balls ahead of the May UK election, said the Barnett formula would be secure under Labour.
'Sharing resources'
"Full fiscal autonomy will mean a £7.6bn hole in Scotland's finances," he said, adding: "A £7.6bn gap that would need to be filled with more taxes on working people or more borrowing.
"You can't build social justice with a £7.6 billion funding gap because the burdens of it would fall on working families across Scotland."
The Labour leader said scrapping Barnett would also end the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK, arguing: "It means the benefits of Labour policies, like the mansion tax for the NHS and the bank bonus tax to pay for jobs for our young people, won't be felt in Scotland."
The £7.6bn figure comes from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and is based on the latest projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility.
But Ms Sturgeon said: "The argument over more powers for the Scottish parliament is about giving Scotland the ability to grow our economy more - not to be at the mercy of continued Westminster cuts."
Speaking in Stirling, the Scottish first minister accused Labour of "desperation", adding: "The only cuts on the horizon for Scotland are the cuts that the Tories are planning and that Labour have signed up to.
"The big opportunity in this election is to make Scotland's voice heard, so we can win an alternative to austerity and see modest spending increases over the next parliament."
NHS spending
Ms Sturgeon said her party's plan to invest in growth would free up resources to allow Scotland's NHS budget to increase by a total of £2bn by 2020 - as part of an overall proposal to increase NHS spending across the UK by £24bn - £9.5bn above inflation.
Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Sir Malcolm Bruce also criticised full fiscal autonomy.
Campaigning in Cupar, Fife, he said the policy would his services for older people, while adding that his party's policies had seen the state pension increase by £900 since 2010.
Elsewhere, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was in Biggar in South Lanarkshire, where she met local residents and businesses who she said would benefit from a deal to improve mobile phone coverage in rural areas.
The Conservatives said people in rural areas were entitled to the same level of service as people living anywhere else, and pledged to ensure the four major mobile networks delivered on a deal negotiated with the UK government to deliver an investment programme across the UK, including Scotland.
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ] What are the top issues for each political party at the 2015 general election?

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