As the Scotland Bill completed the final stage in the House of Commons, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the debate had moved on from the process of legislation and it was time for Scotland’s parties to work together to make the new powers a success and make peoples’ lives better.
The Secretary of State thanked Lord Smith of Kelvin and all of Scotland’s political parties for their efforts in agreeing a devolution settlement for Scotland that will make Holyrood one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.
Mr Mundell expressed a hope that Scotland could now have a ‘vigorous public debate’ about how best to use these new powers. He said there were encouraging signs that this conversation was starting.
Speaking on the day when the House of Commons considers the Scotland Bill at Report Stage and Third Reading, Mr Mundell said:
I thank Lord Smith of Kelvin and Scotland’s political parties for their efforts in producing a new devolution settlement for Scotland. Holyrood is set to become one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.
The Government has listened to constructive suggestions and we now have a Scotland Bill that is stronger and better due to the amendments we have made. Now the debate has moved on from debating how to make the legislation better, it is time for all of us to work together to make a success of these new powers and improve people’s lives.
That is the public debate that Scotland should now be having and, in the past week, we have seen encouraging signs of it starting.
Should the Scottish Government create new benefits, or top up existing ones? What kind of schemes to address fuel poverty best suit the particular circumstances of Scotland? Will local communities get greater say over the management of the assets of the Crown Estate? And how can Scotland’s public sector boards show the way forward for gender equality?
Each of these decisions will now form a direct part of Scotland’s vigorous public debate, with each of them to be made in Scotland for the first time. The Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government will be stronger and more accountable to the people of Scotland, whilst we continue to benefit from the safety and security of membership of the United Kingdom.