Response to new powers for Scotland

Michael Moore MP
Michael Moore MP

Plans for increased Scottish Parliament powers, as promised by the UK Government pre-Scottish referendum have had a mixed response.

The Smith Commission recommended the Scottish Parliament be given power to set income tax rates and bands, but not to alter the threshold above which tax is paid: proposed a proportion of VAT raised in Scotland be assigned to Holyrood; and air passenger duty fully devolved.

Devolution of welfare benefits are also called for so the Scottish Parliament can create new benefits and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare.

However, First Minister Ms Sturgeon is unhappy that the UK government would hold a veto over key devolved powers, including the ability to “abolish the bedroom tax”.

Welcoming publication of the Draft Clauses which deliver greater Home Rule for Scotland, Borders MP Michael Moore, who helped formulate the Smith Commission proposals, said: “It was a privilege to be a part of the Smith Commission which laid out proposals for Home Rule for Scotland and the Draft Clauses deliver on this.

“Under these proposals the Scottish Parliament will raise over half the money it spends, we will have a Scottish Welfare System with a starting budget of over £2.5 billion and there will be votes for 16 and 17 year olds for Holyrood and local government elections.

“As Scottish Secretary I delivered the Scotland Act which saw the greatest transfer of financial powers since the Act of Union.

“I am proud to see even more powers devolved which will make the Scottish Parliament the third most powerful devolved parliament in the world.”

Looking for a strong business environment Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland director, said: “Business leaders are pragmatic about these new powers and want to work with both governments on the technical details to make the changes easier to manage.”