The Scottish Parliament’s overwhelming vote in support of the Scotland Bill marks a huge step forward for the future of devolution, the Secretary of State for Scotland said tonight (Thursday 10 March).
MSPs voted 121 to 3 with one abstension in favour of the Legislative Consent Motion for the Scotland Bill, which means the Bill will now continue its way through the House of Commons and House of Lords for the next legislative stages.
The Bill will deliver the largest transfer of fiscal powers from London since the creation of the UK. It will increase the powers and financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament through setting an annual rate of Scottish income tax.
Speaking in Edinburgh, Michael Moore said:
“The vote at Holyrood is a resounding endorsement of the positive changes in the Scotland Bill. The UK and Scottish Parliaments are both now backing our plans to improve devolution.
“It will bring responsibility in spending and further powers which will benefit the Scottish people. The Scottish Parliament has tested this Bill thoroughly, first through Committee and now through a vote among MSPs.
“The Bill has majority support and I am glad to see even those who opposed the process from the beginning have seen the benefit of this legislation and recommended it is now taken forward in Westminster.
“This builds on the vote of the Scottish people in the referendum of 1997 when they voted for powers and the ability to raise taxes. The Bill will build on both of those areas and the great success of devolution over the past decade.”
The Secretary of State has previously made clear such a significant change could only take place with the agreement of Holyrood. The vote follows Holyrood’s Scotland Bill Committee Report which endorsed the majority of the Bill’s clauses and made a number of further recommendations. These are now being considered in detail by the UK Government.
If supported in the UK Parliament, the Scotland Bill will mean that:
- MSPs at Holyrood will have to set a Scottish rate of income tax each year and will be responsible for raising a much greater proportion of the revenue they spend.
- The Scottish Parliament with get additional borrowing powers
- The Scottish Parliament will have responsibility for stamp duty, landfill tax and the ability to propose new taxes.
- A Scottish Cash Reserve will be created to bank and save money where tax receipts exceed those expected.
- Policy responsibility in areas such as air weapons, drink drive limit and setting the national speed limit will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government.
- The Scotland Bill will be discussed in Committee in the House of Commons on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 March, and will be followed by Report and Third Reading before moving to the House of Lords.
The Scotland Bill Committee recommended a further Consent Motion towards the end of consideration of the Bill at Westminster, focused on amendments made to the Bill.
The Secretary of State has written to the Committee to say he believes this to be a sensible proposal which will enable the Scottish Parliament to consider the totality of amendments.