Katy Clark MP

working hard for North Ayrshire and Arran

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Katy has continued to raise concerns about the SNP and Yes Scotland’s plans for currency in an independent Scotland.

The White Paper and Yes Scotland’s priority is for a currency union, but they have also floated the prospect for continued use of the pound without any formal agreement, known as “sterlingisation”.  The three major UK parties have ruled out the prospect for a formal currency union but the SNP continue to press it as their preferred option. 

Commenting on the issue, Katy stated:

 “The issue of currency remains central to the debate on Scottish independence, but the SNP and Yes Scotland still haven’t addressed what this will mean for Scottish people.  This is often quite a technical and dry issue, but it is of the utmost importance as control of the economy is the very basis of our society, and everything we want to achieve – be that fully funded public services, home construction or job creation – depends on elected governments having access to the economic levers that create and control wealth.  It isn’t just about the coins and notes in our pockets.”

 

“At present, there is at some democratic control of the economy through Parliament.  The Bank of England sets the base rate of interest.  This in turn influence mortgage rates, rents, interest on loans and savings and the cost of living.  It is also a lender of last resort, which was vital in the global economic crash of 2008, where the Government was able to bail out the banks and prevent billions of pounds worth of people’s savings being simply wiped away.  The Bank of England’s Governor and members of the board are political appointments, and members of the Monetary Policy Committee are accountable to Parliament. That means that Scottish MPs and Scottish voices are taken in to account over these decisions.” 

 

“The SNP and Yes Scotland’s preferred option is for a formal currency union.  This would weaken Scotland’s influence over these decisions, as less consideration and influence would be offered to Scottish representatives that there currently are.  The idea that a currency union could work for an economy the size of Scotland’s without a political union to go alongside it has been shown to be unworkable.  This would also mean that the Bank of England would set the levels of borrowing and debt, meaning that our economic policy would be set by a foreign state who we are now in competition with.  We just need to look at the Eurozone crisis and countries like Ireland, Spain or Greece to see how this can leave ordinary people without any say over their own economy.

 

“The SNP and Yes Scotland’s fall back plan is “sterlingistaion” which is to use the currency but without a formal union.   If anything, this is even worse, as the Bank of England would no longer be a lender of last resort. Should there be any further financial difficulties, the security of having a Government lender to underwrite debts would be gone.  Not only that, the Scottish Government would have to run a surplus, rather than a deficit in its budgets.  This would mean that there would be even more drastic cuts to public services such as our NHS and welfare state than is being experienced at present.  This is the favoured option of the right-wing think tank the Adam Smith Institute, which wants to see a role back of the state and public services.”

 

“Instead of breaking away and reducing our influence, we should instead be arguing for further democratic controls over the economy, and strengthening the role of elected representatives over these fundamental economic levers. The European Union may insist we use the Euro which means we would have to stick to their economic and spending rules.”

 

“Gordon Brown has described the independence on offer as “self-imposed colonialism” and this certainly rings true, as it would result in the people of Scotland having even less control over the most basic and fundamental powers in society.”

 

 

Currency questions remain unanswered

Katy has continued to raise concerns about the SNP and Yes Scotland’s plans for currency in an independent Scotland.

Katy has hit out at conspiracy stories on leaflets being put out by the Yes campaign in Ardrossan claiming that the 3 Towns have lost out of an oil boom as a result of a cover up. 

Responding to claims that oil exploration in the Clyde had been blocked by the Ministry of Defence due to Trident activities. Katy said

“The oil industry have been exploring the Clyde waters for oil over the past 40 years with to date little success. For some years in the 1980s BP did have a licence to explore the waters south of Arran but relinquished its licence in 1988 after concluding that there was no reason to continue exploration. It may be that there is shale gas in the area but this possibility has not been properly explored. I have spoken with people at the high levels in the oil and gas industry and to independent academics who specialise in this field who advise me that unfortunately there is no reason to believe at this time that there are commercially exploitable oil reserve.”

 

I am opposed to Trident and if I thought it was true that Trident had blocked exploration from taking place I would be horrified. Trident however is a continuous at sea submarine which goes all over the world and into the most difficult seas and marine environments and it is very difficult to believe that oil operation off the west coast would interfere with its operation.

 

It is also impossible to believe that the multinational oil companies, with the power and influence which they hold, would quietly allow the Ministry of Defence to prevent them from exploring an area which they believed they would be likely to make billions of pounds in profit without doing everything in their power to make Government reconsider.”

 

“It appears these claims are based on rumour and hearsay. The more these claims are scrutinised the less credible they appear. I am very disappointed that the ‘Yes’ campaign are making promises about the benefits which local oil revenues will bring to the people of Ardrossan when the reality is that there is no substantial evidence that sufficient quantities of oil actually exist in the area. To raise false hopes in this way is deeply irresponsible and completely unacceptable.”

 

David MacDonald, Professor of Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen, said:

 

“After a series of attempts to inflate Scotland’s potential reserves of oil and gas, this latest conspiracy theory about submarine movement sin the Clyde simply doesn’t stack up. There is no evidence to suggest that submarine movements and other MoD activity has impeded Scotland’s access to its oil reserves, in the Clyde or anywhere else.

 

“There has been exploration in the Clyde, but oil companies have decided that any reserves are either too small or to technically challenging to be economic. The reason that there has not been widespread extraction on the West Coast is because there has not been the business case for it. The notion that the MoD’s activities are the cause is fanciful.

 

“There are now a number of conspiracy theories being peddled about Scotland’s oil and gas reserves – from secret oil fields, to submarine cover ups, to fracking bonanzas. None of them have any basis in evidence and all of them degrade the quality of Scotland’s debate.”

 

The Ministry of Defence commented “The MOD has not blocked oil exploration in the Clyde because of Trident. We would consider our view on any proposal as and when it emerged.

 

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has advised that the Government has not offered any licences in the Clyde or Firth of Clyde for many decades so MOD will not have had the opportunity to object. There have been no expression of interest by the industry in this area since the 1980s.”

 

 

 

 

Katy responds to Clyde oil claims

Katy has hit out at conspiracy stories on leaflets being put out by the Yes campaign in Ardrossan claiming that the 3 Towns have lost out of an oil boom...

On 5th September 2014 the Conservative-led Government suffered a shock defeat in the House of Commons over the Bedroom Tax.  A private member's bill, the Affordable Homes Bill, was brought to Parliament which if passed as law would introduce three new exemptions to the Bedroom Tax.  The exemptions would include certain disabled occupiers in adapted accommodation; certain disabled occupants in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) who are not able to share a bedroom; and all claimants where their landlord or local authority has not made a reasonable offer of alternative accommodation.  The last of these exemptions would help address the situation where local authorities simply do not have enough housing stock to offer a move to a smaller property.  

Katy Clark, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, had to cancel a surgery in Kilbirnie and travel to London for the important vote, along with every other Scottish Labour MP, to secure a victory for the Bill at second reading by 306 votes to 231.  The Bill will now will now move to detailed scrutiny at the committee stage.  Speaking after the vote, Katy said:

“Today’s vote was a huge defeat for the Tory-led government.  I fully welcome this Bill and its aims to help tenants who have been penalised by the Bedroom Tax through no fault of their own.  The exemptions will help those with health issues or who have no opportunity to move home.  This is just the first step towards fully scrapping the unfair Bedroom Tax, and only the Labour Party can deliver that. 

“The Liberal Democrats have performed another U-turn, realising that their support for the Bedroom Tax will now cost them votes as the public know this Tax is completely unfair.   It was also disappointing to see that four SNP MPs failed to turn up to the vote despite their supposed opposition to the Bedroom Tax.  The SNP’s failure to turn up has exposed their rhetoric of social justice as just that, as instead of helping make genuine changes to benefit ordinary people their only concern is separation at any cost." 

“The Labour Party has pledged to scrap the Bedroom Tax across the whole of the UK, and today’s vote helped us take one step closer to ending this unjust law.” 

Katy votes to help overturn the Bedroom Tax

On 5th September 2014 the Conservative-led Government suffered a shock defeat in the House of Commons over the Bedroom Tax.  A private member's bill, the Affordable Homes Bill, was brought...


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