Local MP for East Dunbartonshire Jo Swinson has welcomed the passing of the Scotland Bill, the largest transfer of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament since the Act of Union
Following the unanimous vote by the Scottish Parliament to support the Scotland Bill on 18 April and approval from the UK Parliament last week, the Bill receives Royal Assent today.
The Act gives the Scottish Parliament multi-billion pound tax and borrowing powers and the ability to set speed limits for all types of vehicles, amend drink driving limits and control air weapons from next year.
From 2016 the Scottish Parliament will also be required to set a Scottish income tax rate to replace part of the existing UK tax rate and from 2015 it will set its own stamp duty and landfill taxes.
Commenting, Jo Swinson said:
“As a staunch supporter of devolution, I am proud that this Bill has made its passage through Westminster. It marks the greatest transfer of financial powers to Scotland for centuries.
“From 2016, local people in East Dunbartonshire will pay a Scottish rate of income tax, those buying property from 2015 will pay a Scottish Stamp Duty and from next year drivers will drive at Scottish speed limits.
“The Scottish Parliament is now more powerful and more accountable to the Scottish people. MSPs will be able to enact real change in Scotland in the coming years making choices that suit the needs of Scotland and that will greatly benefit individuals, families and communities across the country.”
The new powers to be included in the Act are:
· A new Scottish rate of income tax to be in place from April 2016.
· A new £2.2bn capital borrowing power for the Scottish Parliament, to be in place from April 2015 – with a limited version of the power in place from April 2013 to enable the SG to fund £100m of pre-payments for the Forth Road Crossing, allowing early work on the Bridge to get underway.
· The power to introduce new taxes, subject to the agreement of the UK Government, from the enactment of the Bill.
· The full devolution of stamp duty land tax and landfill tax, from April 2015.
· Extended current borrowing powers to help manage volatility in tax receipts and the creation of a new Scottish cash reserve to manage the new revenue receipts.
· Formally changing the name of the Scottish Executive to the Scottish Government;
· Scottish Ministers to have powers in relation to the misuse of drugs;
· Scottish Ministers to have powers relating to the administration of elections to the Scottish Parliament;
· Power to regulate air weapons devolved to Scottish Parliament;
· Scottish Ministers to have a role in appointment process for BBC Trust member for Scotland and MG Alba Trust Members;
· Scottish Ministers to have a role in the appointments process for the Crown Estate Commissioner with special responsibility for Scotland;
· Scottish Ministers to have power to set regulations for the drink-drive limit;
· Scottish Ministers to have the power to determine the national speed limit in Scotland;
· Confirming the reservation of the Antarctic;