Scotland Bill correspondence released

8 Feb 2011 03:18 PM

Ahead of her evidence today to the Scottish Parliament's Scotland Bill Committee, Minister for External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has released 37 letters sent to the UK Government which show the Scottish Government's commitment to resolve the fundamental failings of the proposals in the Scotland Bill and make the case for full financial responsibility.

Ms Hyslop said:

"These letters demonstrate that from the outset the Scottish Government has been explaining its case for full financial responsibility. They also show the rushed and casual approach taken by the UK Government in preparing this Bill, with many aspects not ready until the day of publication.

"They set the record straight following Michael Moore's misleading comments last week and show that this Government has been constructively engaged throughout the whole Scotland Bill process.

"From May 2010 Scottish Government ministers have highlighted the fact that the Scotland Bill is a missed opportunity to provide real levers of economic policy which could be used by the Scottish Parliament to grow the Scottish economy. That is why we have made detailed and sustained representations to the UK Government on a comprehensive range of improvements to the proposed measures.

"In the spirit of transparency I would hope that the UK Government will also agree to the release of their correspondence on the Scotland Bill.

"We have also engaged fully with the Scotland Bill Committee, providing evidence on our proposals to strengthen the Bill on both financial and non-financial matters. We have made the case for full financial responsibility and the benefits it would bring to the Scottish economy and public services. Indeed only yesterday the Finance Secretary submitted a detailed paper responding to the committee's questions.

"As scrutiny of the Bill continues both I and John Swinney look forward to providing further evidence to improve this piece of legislation which could do so much more for the people of Scotland."

The Scottish Government has previously published analysis which shows that if the Bill's financial provisions had been in place since the Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999, the cumulative impact would have been a reduction in Scottish public spending of almost £8 billion.

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