Queen’s Speech: ‘UK Government will continue to deliver for people across Scotland’

Posted on 04/06/2014 by

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This year’s Queen’s Speech contains a range of measures designed to support families, firms and fairness across Scotland, the Scottish Secretary said today. Nine of the eleven new Bills will apply in Scotland, in a speech which reiterated the commitment of the UK Government of making the case for Scotland to stay in the UK.

The UK Government’s legislative programme was announced during the State Opening of Parliament and contains measures to support families with childcare costs, small businesses with access to finance and give pensioners greater freedom to access their savings.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said: “We are building on strong foundations for a prosperous and exciting future in Scotland. This legislation will help improve the lives of people across the country and lend a helping hand to working families and the businesses at the heart of our economy.

“At the same time we will further support the North Sea industry and give Scotland’s pensioners security and flexibility over their retirement funds. It is a comprehensive package for Scotland and I welcome the positive changes it will bring.”

Legislation such as the Childcare Payments Bill will see around 160,000 families in Scotland eligible for help with their childcare costs, up to a maximum of £2,000 per year for each child. Some 325,000 small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland will benefit from the Small Businesses Bill, making it easier for firms to access finance.

It also focuses on maximising North Sea resources, powers to tackle serious crime across the UK and support for Armed Forces charities.

This parliamentary Session will also see the Government affirm its commitment to devolution by commencing vital provisions of the Scotland Act 2012.

This is the last legislative programme before both September’s referendum and the General Election in 2015 and the Westminster government says it underlines their commitment to economic growth and deficit reduction.

However both Labour and the SNP say today’s Queen’s Speech was a missed opportunity – although for different reasons. Labour leader Ed Miliband said the speech failed to match the scale of the challenges Britain faces and Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said Scotland was being let down by both the UK and Scottish governments.

Ms Curran added: “We have an SNP Scottish government that is so obsessed with the referendum that they aren’t doing anything else, and a Tory-led UK government that has run out of ideas.”

The SNP’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Angus Robertson said: “The absence of any mention at all of the Westminster parties’ plans for Scotland in the Queen’s speech is extraordinary. Not even Air Passenger Duty was mentioned, even though this could be transferred to the Scottish Parliament now, as the Tories admitted this week.

“In this – the year of the biggest opportunity in Scotland’s history – Scotland hardly even gets a nod at Westminster, and not a single mention of future plans for improving government in Scotland.”

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