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by Liam Kirkaldy
10 October 2014
Smith Commission plans released

Smith Commission plans released

Submissions to the Smith Commission on further powers for Scotland have been released today.

The Scottish Government has argued that Scotland should have full control over income tax, national insurance, corporation tax, capital gains tax, and power over for all domestic expenditure, including welfare, with payments made to the UK government for reserved services.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is vital that the Scottish Parliament has the powers it needs to tackle inequality and build a fairer society. That’s why we propose control over welfare and employability policy, and the minimum wage, to ensure that we have the ability to protect our most vulnerable and help people out of poverty.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour has argued for the Barnett Formula to be reduced and for parliament to take control over 10p to 15p in income tax.

Labour says its proposals will mean Holyrood has power to raise around £2bn more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act and that three-quarters of the basic rate of income tax in Scotland would be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.   

Introducing the report, Johann Lamont writes: “Our desire has always been a simple one: meeting the Scottish people’s legitimate desire for more powers and enhanced accountability within a strengthened union.”

The Scottish Green Party has recommended that wide economic powers over borrowing as well as taxation should be transferred north of the border as well as the bulk of welfare.

Co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “The UK political parties committed to a very tight timescale, and cannot now ignore that commitment without betraying public trust.

“The first item on the agenda for me is to encourage Lord Smith to agree an urgent programme of open public engagement so that the people of Scotland have the chance to shape the country's future.”

Labour will be represented by Iain Gray and Gregg McClymont while the SNP will send John Swinney and Linda Fabiani.

Meanwhile, the Greens have selected Harvie and Maggie Chapman and the Scottih Lib Dems will send Tavish Scott and former Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore.

Annabel Goldie and Professor Adam Tomkins will represent the Scottish Conservatives.

Below is a summary of the submissions. See blog by Liam Kirkaldy on the politics surrounding the Commission here.

Scottish Government - full submission 

All tax revenues to be retained in Scotland and full fiscal responsibility for Scottish Parliament – in particular autonomy for income tax, national insurance, corporation tax and air passenger duty
Responsibility for all domestic expenditure including welfare
Sustainable framework for public finances, including necessary borrowing powers
Responsibility for key economic levers, including employment policy such as minimum wage, transport policy not already devolved, energy and the Crown Estate

Labour - full submission

Housing benefit to be devolved but other areas such as VAT and “the core of the Welfare State” to remain reserved
Establishing a Scottish Health and Safety Executive, devolution of employment tribunals and enforcement of equalities legislation
Ensuring the Scottish Parliament has administrative control over its own electoral system but UK parliament to remain responsible for UK general elections and European elections
Devolution of powers over railways to facilitate a not-for-profit option on ScotRail franchise

Lib Dems - full submission

Parliament to have fiscal powers to raise most of the resources it spends with UK tier of government retaining fiscal powers over areas like defence
Scottish Parliament should be entrenched to underline its permanent place in constitution as an equal partner in United Kingdom
Single welfare system to be retained as well as unified single market for business in UK

Conservatives - full submission

Holyrood should become responsible for setting income tax throughout Scotland
New Fiscal Commission to produce official macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts in Scotland
Responsibility for state pension to remain with UK
Case for devolving housing benefit and attendance allowance
Senior civil servants as part of career progression to serve in other Department of State in rest of UK
Greater role for civic society and local government
Committee of all parliaments and assemblies in United Kingdom to be set up

Greens - full submission 

Scotland to have control of:

Wide economic powers over borrowing as well as taxation
The bulk of welfare
Energy powers including industrial emission standards and public energy companies to be devolved to Scotland
Transport policy
Employment law, industrial relations, health and safety as well as human rights and equality laws – protecting Scotland from threat to scrap Human Rights Act.

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