THE current UK Government’s deal on a financial package to accompany new powers to Holyrood could slash up to £7 billion from the country’s block grant over a decade, the SNP’s depute leader warned yesterday.

Stewart Hosie said the fiscal framework proposals “would lead to perhaps a £7bn loss to the Scottish block grant over a decade”, adding this would “clearly be unacceptable”.

He made the comments when he appeared on BBC’s Sunday Politics programme yesterday to discuss talks between the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands and Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney.

He accused Westminster of seeking to “embed deeper cuts in the block grant than Scottish tax raising powers could deliver”, branding this “detrimental to Scotland”.

Hosie stated: “The overall level of the block grant, which makes up the bulk of Scotland’s funding, is still supposed to be delivered by Barnett. That is agreed by all parties and we cannot have Unionist politicians in the UK Government seeking to undermine that and cut Scotland’s block grant in a systemic way, way above anything any devolved tax could compensate for. That’s wrong, it’s unfair and it breaches the spirit of all the negotiations.”

The Scottish and UK governments have been locked in protracted negotiations over the fiscal framework, which sets out how the block grant will be altered when MSPs get new tax raising powers in the Scotland Bill. A further round of talks between the two parties will take place in Edinburgh today.

The Scottish Government has already warned it will pull the plug on the Bill by recommending MSPs veto the legislation if the two governments cannot strike a deal on the framework.

Ahead of today’s meeting Swinney yesterday took the unusual step of saying papers from the talks would be published before Holyrood breaks up next month for the Holyrood elections in May.

Yesterday, also appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the UK Government would not walk away from talks, claimed the two administrations were “really quite close together” and he was “quite confident” an agreement could be reached.

Hosie said there was “considerable distance to go”. The Scottish Government has set a deadline of February 12 for a deal to be agreed.