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LABOUR'S DEVOLUTION PLANS HIT SNAGS

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The Labour party's plans for devolved power for Scotland, Wales and the English regions are running into problems, ...
The Labour party's plans for devolved power for Scotland, Wales and the English regions are running into problems, The Economist reports (p29).

In Scotland Labour's plans for a tax-raising legislative parliament are being squeezed from both sides of the political spectrum, the magazine maintains.

Pro-union Tories argue that any Edinburgh parliament will impose extra levies, making Scots the most heavily taxed of all British citizens. Scottish secretary Ian Lang claims a British chancellor may also cut the subsidy that Scotland currently gets from the rest of the UK, which he estimates at £2.8bn.

The Scottish National Party meanwhile argues that Labour's plans are too limited to satisfy most Scots. Claims by the SNP that they will continue to fight for full independence confirms Conservative claims that devolution plans are the slippery slope towards a splitting of the Union.

Problems with devolution in England also dog Labour, according to The Economist. The party's plans remain vague, partly as the desire for greater regional power varies greatly around the country, from strong in the north-east to negligible in East Anglia. This is why shadow home secretary Jack Straw plans to proceed slowly with devolution in England.
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