On September 18th the people of Scotland voted decisively to remain part of the UK family of nations.
During the referendum, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Ed Miliband, made commitments to deliver further powers to the Scottish Parliament. These commitments will be honoured.
The referendum in Scotland has rightly prompted calls for constitutional reform in other parts of the UK too. Lib Dems are longstanding advocates of reform and of a fully Federal solution for the whole UK.
On 27th November, the Smith Commission published its proposals for further powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Following huge public engagement during the referendum and beyond, Scotland’s five political parties worked together constructively to secure agreement on a range of powers. The result is a remarkable achievement. This truly is a home rule settlement for the long term.
You can read the whole report here
Smith Commission's key recommendations
The Scottish Parliament should have the power to:
- Set income tax rates and bands and retain all income tax raised in Scotland
- Allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in Scottish elections
- Create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare
- Retain a share of VAT
- Have full control over Air Passenger Duty
A more detailed explanation of the key points can be found here
This is a new start for Scotland with new powers
On 22nd January 2015, The UK Government published draft legislation which will result in an unprecedented shift of powers from the UK Parliament to the Scottish Parliament.
New draft clauses form the final part of the promise made to the people of Scotland on additional devolution in the run up to the referendum in September 2014. These clauses were published ahead of the Burns Night deadline.
Holyrood will become one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world, responsible for more than 60% of Scottish spending, while retaining the safety and security of being part of the wider United Kingdom.
The devolution of powers relating to disability and housing payments - and the ability to create new welfare payments - will deliver a Scottish welfare system with a starting value of around £2.5 billion.
The Scottish Parliament will get new powers on setting income tax, welfare, some employment programmes, further borrowing powers, a proportion of VAT and air passenger duty.
The UK Government have also taken steps to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.
The Barnett Formula - which is used to calculate the main part of the block grant which pays for the public services which have been devolved to Scotland, like health and education - will be retained.
You can read the draft clauses here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/397079/Scotland_EnduringSettlement_acc.pdf
Visit ourunitedfuture.tumblr.com to find out more, ask questions and test your devolution knowledge with a mastermind quiz.
A final bill will then be brought to the House of Commons after the General Election in May 2015
I will use this page to keep people updated with any further developments on further powers for Scotland.