Uncategorized SNP says Queen’s Speech ‘is test of good faith’

SNP says Queen’s Speech ‘is test of good faith’

Queen's Speech
The Queen’s Speech will be broadcast on Democracy Live from 11:00 BST today, Wednesday 27 May.

The Queen’s Speech will be a test of Westminster’s “good faith” towards the Smith Commission, the SNP has said.

A Scotland Bill, based on recommendations of the cross-party group, is expected to be part of the Conservatives’ legislative programme.

It is set to include more powers for Holyrood, such as setting income tax rates and controlling a share of VAT.

But the SNP said draft legislation published in January did not go far enough.

The Smith Commission was set up following the “no vote” in the independence referendum to discuss further powers for Scotland.

Angus Robertson, the party’s Westminster leader, said the Scotland Bill must implement the Smith recommendations in full.

He said: “In terms of more powers for Scotland, it is an early test of the UK government’s good faith that the Scotland Bill lives up to both the spirit and the letter of the Smith Commission.

“The Scottish government has already set out the shortcomings of the draft legislation published in January, and submitted detailed amendments to the UK government to bring their original proposals into line with Smith, so there can be no excuse.”

Conservative leader David Cameron pledged to give more powers to Scotland within 100 days of winning the election.

It is expected the Scotland Bill will be based on draft legislation published by the coalition government in January, following recommendations by the Smith Commission.

New powers will include:

  • setting income tax rates and bands
  • controlling a proportion of VAT raised in Scotland
  • fully controlling air passenger duty
  • creating new benefits in devolved areas and making discretionary welfare payments
  • managing the assets of the Crown Estate. 
  • David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon discussed further powers for Scotland at a meeting at Bute House following the general election
    David Cameron and Nicola Sturgeon discussed further powers for Scotland at a meeting at Bute House following the general election

    In addition, the Scottish Parliament has already been given the power to extend voting to 16 and 17 year olds in time for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary elections.Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary, said his party would ensure the Scotland Bill implemented the “Vow” made by the pro-Union parties during the referendum campaign.

    He said: “This bill is a serious offer of more power to Scotland, and Scottish Labour will work constructively to push the Tories to deliver the power to the Scottish Parliament to defend Scotland against further austerity.

    “But the threats to Scots don’t end with the Tories. Nicola Sturgeon has committed her party to amending the Scotland Bill to include full fiscal autonomy, which would mean an end to the Barnett Formula and an additional £7.6bn of cuts to the Scottish budget.”

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said a full commitment to the Smith Agreement must be part of the Queen’s Speech.

    He said: “David Cameron must put the more powers for Scotland agreed by the five-party Smith Commission front and centre of his Queen’s speech today.

    “It must be delivered in full. No ifs, no buts.

    “That commitment will give confidence that Scotland is moving towards the stable, lasting change voted for by the majority of Scots at last year’s historic referendum.

    “Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to argue for both governments to honour Scotland’s desire for meaningful constitutional reform – pushing democracy back down into local communities and beyond.”

    The Queen’s Speech will be broadcast on Democracy Live from 11:00 BST on Wednesday 27 May.

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