Scottish Labour’s Party Leader Johann Lamont presented the results of the Devolution Commission at the Scottish Labour Party Conference this past weekend. She has commented that “This is an important piece of work which we hope will answer people’s desire to have a stronger, more accountable Scottish Parliament.”
“The commission has worked hard to ensure that our proposals are consistent with Scotland remaining strong in the United Kingdom but also give us the flexibility to do things differently where we want to.
The Commission has remained in favour of devolution and the union, sharing economic, social, and political aspects, in which “risks and rewards are collectively pooled,” However, the Commission has also identified areas in which more powers should be devolved to Scottish Parliament, some of which include:
• Devolving the Housing benefit, which is the largest single benefit, paid in Scotland after the state pension—amounting to £1.7 billion a year, which would also allow the Scottish Parliament to abolish the Bedroom Tax to ensure secure funding for the provision of social housing and reduce abuse by unscrupulous private landlords.
• Giving the Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland act, so that it raises about 40 percent of its budget from its own resources.
• Widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland act by half from 10p to 15p.
• Bringing three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland under the control of the Scottish Parliament.
“This brings to an end two years of work where we have engaged widely with business, trade unions, academics and constitutional experts. We believe our proposals set out the most comprehensive package of devolution while also allowing Scotland the security and certainty of the United Kingdom.”
“I believe that by strengthening the Scottish Parliament, we can strengthen Scottish politics.”
Alex Rowley MSP welcomed the Proposals and stated that he felt Labours Scottish conference has given the party the; “momentum that it needed to fight for a strong, just and prosperous Scottish future.”
Alex also stated that; “the Scottish Labour party has now set out a clear vision for Scotland’s future a vision which Scottish nationalists can only counter with empty promises.”
Alex believes that; “for the first time Labour has set out the clear difference between a Socialist future for Scotland and a Nationalist agenda. Finally the momentum of this debate is moving away from Nationalists arguments. The people of Scotland are beginning to focus on the real issues which will shape their futures.”
“ No longer is the rhetoric of Scotland standing against the rest of the UK working; instead the people of Scotland are facing up to the facts of this debate and looking for Scotland’s political parties to outline a clear and bold, evidence based vision for the future.”