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07/06/15 10:21

Scotland Bill changes proposed

Scottish Government suggests amendments to bring Bill in line with Smith Agreement.

Amendments to ensure the Scotland Bill delivers the Smith Agreement have been proposed by the Scottish Government.

The changes would implement the Smith Agreement in full by removing all vetoes in the Bill, giving Scottish Ministers the power to create new benefits in devolved areas and reversing limitations in the Bill’s clauses.

The extensive proposals have been sent to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee as part of the Scottish Government’s formal response to the Committee’s interim report on the Smith Commission.

The Scottish Government is also set to convene a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the Scotland Bill and will shortly publish proposals for further powers beyond those proposed by the Smith Commission.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

"The Scotland Bill put forward by the UK Government fails to deliver the Smith Agreement in full, either in spirit or in law.

“The changes we have proposed would bring the Scotland Bill up to scratch and properly implement the Smith Agreement in full. That’s the absolute minimum we need if the Prime Minister’s respect agenda is to have any credibility.

The amendments remove the UK Government’s veto over key decisions, give the Scottish Parliament an explicit power to create new benefits in devolved areas and would ensure that the Scottish Parliament cannot be abolished without the consent of the Scottish people. These basic changes to the Bill will give future Scottish Governments the freedom to exercise new powers without interference, like any other government.

“As all parties in the Scottish Parliament supported the Smith Agreement and all have agreed with the view of the Devolution committee that the current bill does not implement Smith properly, I expect all parties to support our actions to make the Bill fit for purpose and enact the proper devolution we all signed up to.

"We will also put forward proposals shortly for more powers to be devolved through the Scotland Bill including employment policy, the minimum wage, welfare, business taxes, national insurance and equality policy - the powers we need to create jobs, grow revenues and lift people out of poverty.”

Notes to editors

The letter to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee is available on: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/constitution/publications/devolutioncommitteeresponse

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will tomorrow (Monday) meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer and will discuss the fiscal framework surrounding the Scotland Bill.