Scottish Government
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Devolved Governments shared agenda

The heads of government of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland yesterday called for the UK Government to join them in a 'progress agenda' embracing social and economic, financial and constitutional and policy reform across the UK.

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland

Noting the renewed mandates of the three devolved governments following recent elections, and the importance of joint working with the UK Government, they reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of communication, co-operation and mutual respect.

Their statement followed a trilateral meeting hosted in Edinburgh by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and attended by the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon Peter Robinson MLA and Martin McGuinness MP MLA, First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Their statement:

"The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established, and their responsibilities have been developed and extended, according to the views of the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on their own institutions of government.

"In elections on May 5, those peoples bestowed on us renewed mandates as the heads of their devolved governments to work on their behalf, trusting in these institutions to build better societies for all our people.

"When the current UK Government was elected last year, we welcomed the commitment of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to a respect agenda for relations with devolved governments. Following our re-election, we reaffirm our commitment to work with the UK Government on the basis of good communication, co-operation and mutual respect - the principles set out in the Memorandum of Understanding reached among the four governments 10 years ago.

"We believe it is now time for the agenda of respect to deliver an agenda for progress on the issues of the greatest concern to those who elected us including economic growth. We call on the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to work with us to make progress on financial, constitutional and policy reform across the United Kingdom. We look forward to discussing this progress agenda at the forthcoming Plenary meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee in London."

watch the press conference

Among the measures currently under discussion between

the UK Government and the devolved administrations are:

  • financial reforms including fair funding, corporation tax, income tax, excise duty, borrowing powers and arrangements for end of year financial flexibility. Each administration will decide on which powers it will be appropriate for them to pursue
  • constitutional reforms including reform of the House of Lords; proposals for a Bill of Rights Commission; proposals for further reform in Northern Ireland; and the Scotland Bill and its consequences for the other devolved administrations
  • policy reforms including Welfare Reform; energy policy including the promotion of renewable energy sources, electricity grid development and reform of the Crown estate; and broadcasting

Today's trilateral meeting was held in advance of the forthcoming Plenary Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) of the governments of the United Kingdom, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister.

The original Memorandum of Understanding among between the UK Government, Scottish Ministers and the (then) Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales was agreed in 1999. A revision was published in July 2000 to take account of devolution to Northern Ireland. Subsequent revisions have taken place, most recently in March 2010.

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