Scottish Government approves Scotland Bill
The Scotland Bill which sees powers resered to Westminster and devolved
to Holyrood was given the go-ahead in the Scottish Parliament today
Scottish independence: Scottish Government Ministers approve Scotland Bill
The Scottish Government has consented to Wesminster legislation that gives powers to and takes powers away from Holyrood, despite criticism that it is a “missed opportunity”.
Strategy Minister Bruce Crawford delivered the Scottish Government’s approval for the Scotland Bill to MSPs which allows Holyrood new powers to vary income tax and borrowing money in international markets. Critics have said that there is an inbuilt disencentive to using the new tax powers meaning in effect it gives new powers that no Scottish Government would use because it would be economically counter-productive.
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Mr Crawford commented that the Bill has already been “bypassed by history and events” given the forthcoming independence referendum and while Unionist parties are actively considering ‘devo plus/max’.
SNP MSP John Mason described the new Scotland Bill as a “missed opportunity” following today’s debate and vote in the Scottish Parliament which saw the Bill passing and the changes it makes to the Scottish Parliament’s powers.
Mr Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston and a member of the Scotland Bill Committee, said:
“I welcome any measure of increased autonomy for Scotland and voted for it, but it is clear that the Bill does not bring forward the real change the people of Scotland are looking for, nor does it address the real question which Scotland itself will decide on in two years’ time – on independence.
“It is particularly disappointing that when a LibDem politician gets into power they ignore what they called for previously. Just what has happened to their policy of devolving corporation tax, excise duty, the Crown Estates and a number of other key wealth-creating powers to the Scottish Parliament?”
“It falls far short of what is required, and has been completely overtaken by events, with all parties seeking to go much further than the limited new powers offered by the Bill – it is a missed opportunity.
“Thankfully, the people of Scotland will now get the chance to choose those real job-creating powers in the independence referendum in autumn 2014.”
SNP launch attack on “Lib Dem u-turns”
The Scottish National Party have published a list of 5 u-turns which they say the LibDems have performed in relation to powers they once wanted devolved to Scotland but now want to remain reserved to Westminster:
1. Crown Estates – In 1998 the LibDems proposed amending the Scotland Bill to devolve the Crown Estates to the Scottish Parliament. Now Michael Moore is saying they will oppose this.
2. European representation – In 1998 the LibDems proposed amending the Scotland Bill to allow Scottish Executive Ministers to have the right of statutory representation in the Council of Ministers. Now they are suggesting that they will oppose this.
3. Corporation Tax – In his submission to the Calman Commission on behalf of the Scottish LibDems the then leader Tavish Scott called for corporation tax to be devolved with “all revenues accruing directly to the Scottish Parliament”. Now they are opposing this.
4. Excise duty – In his submission to the Calman Commission on behalf of the Scottish LibDems the then leader Tavish Scott called for tobacco and alcohol duties, along with fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, to be devolved with “all revenues accruing directly to the Scottish Parliament”. Now they are signalling they will oppose this.
5. Broadcasting – In the LibDems’ Steel Commission it was said that there should be much greater accountability to the Scottish Parliament and regular reporting from the BBC with a formal role for the Scottish Parliament in the charter renewal process. No positive response to the Scottish Government’s similar proposals have been received.
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