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Smith Commission proposals published

New powers welcome, but package “well short” of those needed – FM.

Lord Smith has recently published his recommendations for further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that while she welcomed the transfer of those powers recommended by the report – including the transfer of the franchise, allowing votes for 16 and 17 year-olds – the proposals fall well short of commitments made during the referendum campaign, and far short of the proposals made by the Scottish Government and by a wide range of civic organisations and people across Scotland.

The First Minister recntly wrote to the Prime Minister to agree an approach to take forward the Smith Commission proposals.

The First Minister said:

“I spoke to Lord Smith earlier today and thanked him for the job he has done in chairing the Commission and getting agreement on the package of proposals.

“The Scottish Government has played a full and constructive part in the work of the Commission, and I welcome the proposed transfer of those powers it recommends should come to Scotland.

“However, I am disappointed that the report falls well short of the proposals from the Scottish Government and those from a wide cross section of civic Scotland – proposals which would have ensured a powerhouse parliament in line with the various commitments made to ‘home rule’ and ‘maximum devolution’.

“The package unveiled today, while proposing the transfer of limited control of welfare and aspects of taxation, clearly does not meet those aspirations, nor the aspirations of a majority of people across Scotland. Decisions about more than 70 per cent of Scottish taxes and 85 per cent of current UK welfare spending in Scotland will stay at Westminster.

“We will use whatever new powers are delivered to the Scottish Parliament to ensure we take forward this Government’s work to create a fairer and more prosperous country for everyone who lives here.

“It is imperative that Westminster now delivers on the full package of powers recommended today, including crucially early action on the transfer of the franchise, to ensure the Scottish Parliament can give the vote to 16 and 17 year-olds in time for them being able to vote in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

“I am today writing to the Prime Minister on the next steps in the process and how the Smith Commission proposals are taken forward. The Scottish Government will work jointly with the UK Government on the next stage of this progress, in line with the full and constructive part we have played so far.

“We want to ensure that the spirit and intention of the Smith recommendations are reflected in the legislative proposals to be published by the end of January, and that the process includes the people of Scotland following the unprecedented levels of engagement during the referendum, and the public consultation continued by Lord Smith.”

 

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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