Scotland Bill amendments announced
David Mundell says changes "deliver on Smith recommendations"
The UK Government has published its amendments to the Scotland Bill which will transfer further powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the changes “put beyond any reasonable doubt, for any reasonable person” that the bill delivers on the proposals laid out by the cross-party Smith Commission.
Mundell said around half of the changes were “significant” while the other half were minor technical details, but would not go further than the Smith recommendations.
“We have even taken steps to improve the legislation in some areas where we believed the bill was already delivering Smith,” he said.
“For example, there has never been a power for the UK Government to block welfare changes from Holyrood but we have taken steps to make it even clearer that there are no UK vetoes in this Bill. We are acting in good faith and want to build consensus.
“Both of Scotland’s governments have a responsibility to meet our commitments and deliver the new powers that Scotland voted for.”
The House of Commons votes on the bill next week and Mundell expects it to be passed.
“We will [then] enter a new phase where the Scottish Government will need to start telling us how they intend to use these new powers,” he said.
“Will they top up benefits? Will they create new benefits and how much will it all cost?”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said he believed Westminster would retain a veto on welfare.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland this morning, he said: "Of course some welfare changes and powers are going to be reserved to the United Kingdom government, but where the power has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, where it's going to be truly devolved, we must be able to exercise our responsibility without the UK Government being able to veto any aspect."