The UK Government will deliver on its pledge to bring significant new powers to the Scottish Parliament as part of further devolution within the UK, Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said yesterday.
It coincided with the publication of a UK Government Command Paper, a summary of the proposals set out by the 3 main Westminster political parties that have been put forward for further devolution.
Speaking ahead of giving a statement in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said: “The referendum result made clear the majority of people in Scotland want to see a strong devolved Parliament as part of the UK.
“We pledged further devolution and we will deliver on that promise. Today’s Command Paper sets out the detail of the political positions from the parties. The Smith Commission must now be left to carry out its work before Heads of Agreement are published at the end of November.
“This is the first time all of Scotland’s main political parties will be involved in a process exploring areas of further devolution. I welcome that as an important recognition we must work together to deliver the new powers people want to see for Scotland”.
The independent Smith Commission is convening cross-party talks to reach agreement on the proposals. Its terms of reference make clear the recommendations will deliver more financial, welfare and taxation powers to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK.
The move comes just days after the Scottish Government’s budget used the powers devolved by the Scotland Act 2012 to set Scottish stamp duty and landfill tax rates, as well as extend government borrowing.
Have your say on further financial devolution
The options for the further devolution of financial powers to Scotland are to be examined by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee in a new inquiry launched last week – and the public are being asked to give their views.
Following the referendum, and the establishment of the Smith Commission, the Committee’s inquiry will look at what general principles should apply to the devolution of further financial powers and what those powers should be. The inquiry will also consider the impact of any further financial powers on the block grant.
During the course of the inquiry, the Committee will take evidence from a range of witnesses and is also asking people to submit their views on the options for financial devolution in Scotland.
Committee Convener, Kenneth Gibson MSP said: “Following the referendum, there is a debate about the further devolution of powers to Scotland. The Smith Commission is currently considering what further powers should be devolved to Scotland and key amongst these will be financial powers. It is only right that we contribute to this debate.
“Our inquiry will explore what powers should be devolved and the implications for Scotland’s funding. We want to hear a range of views about what this would mean for Scotland.”
The Committee is asking for views on a range of issues including:
• What general principles should apply to the devolution of further financial powers to the Scottish parliament?
• What further financial powers should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and why?
• What further financial powers should not be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and why?
• To what extent could the Scottish Government be constrained in how it uses new tax powers given the interaction with fiscal decisions at a UK level?
• What are the implications of further fiscal devolution for the block grant?
• What are the implications of further financial powers for the role of Revenue Scotland?
The closing date for responses is Friday 14 November 2014.
All responses should be sent electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on the Committee’s inquiry can be found on the Committee’s webpage: