This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Government has made a number of positive changes for Scots over its first year in office
The first year of coalition government has lifted thousands of Scots out of tax, took on the deficit and helped create the conditions for recovery in Scotland, the Secretary of State for Scotland said today.
- Changes to tax thresholds from April will see 71,000 Scots taken out of tax in April 2011 and a further 21,000 in 2012.
- This government is taking decisive action to tackle the legacy of deficit - £155,000 million or £2,500 for every man woman child - the IMF and other key economic bodies support the action we are taking in creating a stable economic future fit for growth.
- As a result of the Defence review, the £5 billion contract for the aircraft carriers are going ahead, sustaining thousands of jobs in Glasgow, Rosyth and throughout the Scottish supply chain.
- We have cut Corporation Tax from 28% to 26% in April 2011 and will continue to reduce it down to 23p by 2014 giving us the most competitive rate in the G7.
- The Scotland Bill will bring about the largest transfer of financial power out of London since the creation of the United Kingdom. It will bring greater financial responsibility to the Scottish Parliament along with increased borrowing powers. The Bill is due to complete its House of Commons consideration before the summer recess.
- The Scotland Bill will also devolve new taxes to Scotland as well as powers over airguns, drink-driving and speed limits - making a safer Scotland.
- The Government has formally submitted a derogation request to the European Commission for a rural fuel duty rebate pilot scheme. This is intended to deliver a 5 pence per litre duty discount on petrol and diesel across the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Northern Isles, and the islands in the Clyde.
- Unemployment has fallen in Scotland for 5 consecutive months. Employment in Scotland has risen in recent months. The UK Government has reserved responsibility for the macroeconomic policies which underpin this.
- The UK Government has reached an agreement with the high street banks to ensure they increase lending to SMEs in Scotland by around an extra £800m this year.
- Scotland got a fair deal in the Comprehensive Spending Review - producing a Budget which will decrease significantly less than the Scottish Government forecast.
- The Prime Minister travelled to Scotland within 3 days of taking up office and other UK Ministers have become the first to appear before Committees of the Scottish Parliament (Danny Alexander, Michael Moore, Chris Huhne, David Gauke).
- The UK has taken steps to allow for the next Scottish Parliament to be extended until 2016 to ensure there is no clash with the next General Election which will take place in May 2015.
- The UK Government have ended child detention at Dungavel.
- The coalition has worked to protect the status of Scottish goods in international markets - an example being the geographic indication protection of Scotch whisky in the Chinese market.
- HMNB Clyde at Faslane will become the UK’s main base for its submarine fleet, again protecting defence jobs in Scotland.
- The reform of state pensions will see Scots pensioners enter a simplified and fairer pension system which will see a universal payment of £140 a week - fairer particularly for Scottish women who leave work for periods to raise their families. We have also restored the earnings link with pensions.
- The UK Government has spent over £50 million to help some of the most vulnerable in society with two million cold weather payments in Scotland this winter. This is much needed financial assistance to disabled adults and children, the elderly and families with young children who receive an income related benefit.
- The Government’s commitment to High Speed Rail could see Scotland benefit from decreased rail times to and from Scotland . The Government is also set to invest a multi-billion sum in new rolling stock for intercity trains which will mean seamless journeys for Scots rail passengers.
- The creation of a network of devolution Ministers in Whitehall, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, to ensure that devolution issues are embedded in the policy and decision making processes.