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David Mundell: A new era in Scottish politics is upon us

The Secretary of State has hailed an “important moment in the story of our nation” as the Scotland Bill enters the final stage of its journey towards becoming law.

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The Bill returns to the House of Commons today to consider the amendments made in the House of Lords. It will see control of income tax rates and thresholds, a sizeable part of the welfare system and a swathe of other powers move from Westminster to Holyrood.

Speaking to members of the Scottish Youth Parliament as they visited Dover House, the London HQ of the Scotland Office yesterday, Mr Mundell said the Scotland Bill meant the UK Government had delivered on its pledge to turn Holyrood into a powerhouse Parliament fit for a 21st century Scotland.

He added:

This is an important moment in the story of our nation. The completion of the Scotland Bill will see us move on from the constitutional debate in the aftermath of the referendum and on to an exciting new era in Scottish politics.

The people I met from the Scottish Youth Parliament will encounter a very different political landscape to the one we have now – and one which will be almost unrecognisable from the devolution settlement of 1999.

It will see Holyrood transformed into a Parliament which has real power and also real accountability. One which takes big decisions about how much income tax we pay and how our welfare system is designed.

That it is why it is vital in the forthcoming Scottish elections that all of Scotland’s political parties set out in detail how they will use those powers and what their plans are for our country.

“There will no longer be anyone else to point the finger at if promises made become promises broken because policies could not match campaign rhetoric. The buck really will stop at Bute House.

But, most importantly of all, this Bill delivers what the people of Scotland called for in the independence referendum - a legislature with powers which, if used well, can help grow our country and see it fulfil its true potential in conjunction with colleagues in the UK Parliament.

By working together, Holyrood and Westminster can multiply the benefits to Scotland. There will be areas where both parliaments will share a space and both will have our country’s best interests at heart.

The Scotland Bill means the UK government has delivered on its commitments; a powerhouse Parliament for Scotland which shares in and contributes to the strength, security and stability of the UK.

It is now down to us all to work together to make sure politicians at every level serve the people of Scotland in the very best way we can.

Published 23 March 2016