Scottish independence: Business figures say 'Yes' vote would benefit economy

Alex Salmond praises pro-independence business letter

More than 200 business figures have signed an open letter backing Scottish independence.

Stagecoach chairman Sir Brian Souter and Clyde Blowers boss Jim McColl are among signatories who say independence is in Scotland's economic interest.

It comes a day after a similar letter from 130 pro-UK business leaders said the case for independence had not been made.

The pro-independence letter has been published in The Herald newspaper.

Other signatories include Ralph Topping, retired chief executive of William Hill, Professor Nathu Puri, founder of Purico, former Scottish Enterprise chairman Sir Donald Mackay and former RBS chairman Sir George Mathewson.

'Huge resources'

The letter stated: "An independent Scotland will recognise entrepreneurs small and large as the real wealth and job creators of the nation's economic future.

"It will encourage a culture in which innovation, endeavour and enterprise are nurtured. It will place power in the hands of Scotland's people to channel the huge resources of our country in the interests of those who live and work here."

The letter went on to argue that the real threat to Scotland was the "real possibility of a British exit from the European common market".

The letter was a response to one which appeared in the Scotsman newspaper on Wednesday, signed by more than 130 business figures who argued the case for independence had not been made.

The pro-Union signatories, who included the head of engineering firm Weir Group, warned of "substantial risks" if there is a "Yes" vote in the referendum.

First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the pro-independence letter, which he said had been signed by some of the nation's "leading job and wealth creators".

'Biggest decision'

He added: "What impressed me most about this letter - signed by businesses large and small and from north, south and across the country - was the positivity in which some of our greatest businesses regard Scotland's prospects as an independent country.

"I was also heartened by their focus on a fairer society - something we are not likely to see coming from the No campaign or David Cameron.

"People's jobs are at the heart of this referendum campaign as people want to know that Scotland will get the powers that will attract investment and create employment opportunities."

But the Better Together campaign, which opposes independence, claimed many businesses were "afraid" to speak out against independence.

It followed allegations in the Telegraph newspaper that some business figures who wanted to sign the pro-UK letter had stayed silent because they feared "consequences" from the SNP government.

Labour MP and shadow business minister Ian Murray said: "With postal ballots being filled out across the country and polling day itself is a matter of days away it is deeply troubling that people still feel they cannot air their view of what is best for Scotland for fear of the wrath of Alex Salmond.

"We are about to make the biggest decision of our lifetime. There will be no going back and yet still, people feel they cannot speak out against Alex Salmond's unanswered questions."

Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

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Smith Commission Live

  1.  
    12:15: Vow 'delivered'

    Jackie Baillie MSP, who is standing in at First Minister's Questions until the Scottish Labour Party finds a new leader, says the vow made to people of Scotland ahead of the referendum has been delivered ahead of schedule.

     
  2.  
    12:12: Proposals 'underwhelming'

    Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) national spokesperson Colin Fox says that Smith proposals were "underwhelming" and did nothing to tackle key problems facing working people.

    Mr Fox said: "As tax raising powers are devolved the block grant to Holyrood will fall leaving power still very much in London's hands.

    "On key problems facing thousands of Scots it has no real answer. No new power to tackle fuel poverty, introduce a desperately needed wage of £10 an hour or tackle the scandal of zero hours contracts.

    "What the commission shows is the stark reality between its tinkering and spin and the failure to address the crying needs for jobs, fair pay and real change.

    "It will not settle the increasing demand for independence reflected in public opinion since September 18th and underlines the SSP's view that independence has not been defeated but deferred."

     
  3.  
    12:10: Business sectors reaction to commission Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Free market Institute of Economic Affairs says the Smith deal "dangerous 1/2-way house". Blame game goes on, with the prospect of more regulation and higher tax.

    Brad Mackay, of the Edinburgh University Business School, says business leaders don't want single market disrupted and would prefer Holyrood to keep tax rates consistent with UK.

    Meanwhile, Scottish Retailers say more devolution is not an end in itself, adding: "Priority is simple, make it easier and less costly for firms to invest, grow and hire"

     
  4.  
    12:10: Sturgeon on Smith Commission

    Nicola Sturgeon, in First Minister's Questions, asks how Labour has managed to find itself on same side as Conservatives and on different side from STUC over Smith proposals.

    She points to comments from various charities and unions which have expressed disappointment over what is on offer and says there are no powers to create jobs.

     
  5.  
    12:06: FMQs Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    If you want to watch First Minister's Questions, where MSPs are discussing the Smith Commission, you can do so on the 'Live Coverage' tab of this page or follow it on the BBC's live blog and video of the Scottish Parliament.

     
  6.  
    12:04: 'The Vow Plus'

    Labour MP Dame Anne Begg describes the Smith recommendations as "The Vow Plus".

    dame anne begg

    But she adds: "It is quite right that pensions, and in particular state pensions, should remain reserved as there is no doubt that throughout the referendum campaign and polling that voters, and indeed Yes voters, wanted it to remain within the UK."

     
  7.  
    11:59: #SmithCommission trending

    Reaction on Twitter going wild for the Smith Commission.

    Smith Commission trending

    It was the 8th most tweeted about topic in UK, and 5th most tweeted about in Scotland.

     
  8.  
    Wishart 'disappointed' Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: SNP's Pete Wishart gets a cheer from MPs for uttering the word "welcome" to #smithcommission, but goes on to say Scotland is "disappointed"

    Pete Wishart in statement debate

    Carmichael to Wishart: "It's about time he and his party came to terms with their loss" in the referendum vote #smithcommission

     
  9.  
    11:57: Once in a generation

    Shadow Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael again says the independence referendum should be accepted as a once in a generation vote.

    He adds: "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon said they would respect the outcome of the referendum. There is absolutely no reason from today for them to do anything other than make it clear that we will not be returning to this question in a referendum in a generation."

     
  10.  
    11:56: Welfare

    Mr Carmichael says the new powers will allow Scotland to design "a welfare system that is fit for purpose".

     
  11.  
    11:54: Fears over a rushed job

    Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh added: "If we rush this we are at risk of throwing petrol on the embers of English resentment."

    Sir Edward Leigh
     
  12.  
    11:52: Greater separation

    Conservative MP Andrew Robathan, in the debate on the Smith Commission in the House of Commons, says Scotland voted "against spiteful nationalist" but Smith Commission proposals will deliver greater UK separation.

     
  13.  
    11:49: Murphy on welfare powers

    Scottish Labour leadership candidate Jim Murphy says new welfare powers are "just as crucial" to Scotland as new tax powers.

    He asks Mr Carmichael in the House of Commons to confirm that he wants to see devolution of those powers "at a pace and in a manner which will enable Scotland to challenge poverty and the generational disadvantage that blights far too many families".

     
  14.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission 11:47: Your Reaction

    Jim Roberton: Alistair Carmichael produces the Daily Record to support his argument on Smith. A lie, supported by another lie, does not make your case.

    Dick Winchester: Alistair Carmichael now trying to drive a wedge between @JohnSwinney and other MSPs/SNP members. It won't work.

     
  15.  
    11:45: Nick Robinson's Analysis Nick Robinson Political editor

    'If you think today's constitutional changes are only about Scotland, think again.

    Lord Smith

    'If you think they mark the end of a process of change, think again.

    'If you think they will end the debate about Scottish independence, think again.'

    Read Nick's blog.

     
  16.  
    11:44: 'Great day for democracy'

    Labour MP Graham Allen, chairman of the political and constitutional reform committee, says: "This is a great day for democracy. What's good enough for Scotland is good enough for England."

    Graham Allen
     
  17.  
    11:42: Votes of Scottish MPs

    Conservative MP John Redwood asks Mr Carmichael if he agrees that once Scotland is determining its own income tax rates in the Scottish parliament, it would be "quite wrong for Scottish members of this parliament to fix the bands and rates for the English".

    John Redwood

    Mr Carmichael says: "Income tax remains a tax that is shared between the two parliaments.".

    Some Tory MPs respond with cries of "rubbish".

     
  18.  
    11:38: Repercussions in Wales

    First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones says it would now be discriminatory if air passenger duty was not devolved to Wales like it is in Scotland.

    Carwyn Jones, FM of Wales First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones

    Plaid Cymru meanwhile, have welcomed the Smith Commission but says it doesn't fulfil the 'vow' made in the last days of the referendum campaign.

     
  19.  
    11:33: Free Church reaction

    The Free Church of Scotland has welcomed the Smith Commission proposal to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in future Scottish elections and the beginning of a process to devolve abortion.

    James Fraser CBE, chairman of the Free Church's Board of Trustees, commented: "We are pleased that the Smith Commission is recommending that young people aged 16 and upwards be able to vote in future Scottish elections.

    Young voter

    "This was an interesting by-product of the referendum debate, and it is excellent that it will now become a permanent feature of politics in Scotland. It will hopefully go a considerable way to maintaining the momentum of the political debate."

    On the issue of abortion, Mr Fraser added: "We are also pleased that the Smith Commission has put the devolving of abortion powers on the table. We are completely at a loss to think of any good reason for devolving health on the one hand, but reserving abortion policy on the other."

     
  20.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 11:31: Your views

    Graeme, Glasgow: We need to remember that nobody voted for the findings of the Smith Commission. It may be that they reflect the wishes of the Scottish people but until they are asked we can never know. The changes proposed are far too significant to be imposed on the Scottish people by a cross-party group of politicians who all want more powers to Scotland to increase their own influence.

    Wilma Davidson: Interesting to read this morning about the recommendations of the Smith Commission. Disappointed to see there has been no discussion throughout this whole process of The Scottish Six, or broadcasting in Scotland in general. Scotland needs more local news and current affairs produced here in Scotland, for Scotland.

     
  21.  
    11:30: Carmichael on job creation

    Mr Carmichael responds to Mr Hosie's claim, saying: "There are significant job creating powers and the Scottish parliament already holds significant job creating powers."

     
  22.  
    Cameron's plan Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: PM on Smith Commission: "Report makes the case for English votes for English laws unanswerable". Says proposals published before Christmas.

    He also states that the Smith Commission will achieve a "better balance in the UK".

     
  23.  
    11:26: Hosie wanted job creating powers

    SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie says he notes the absence of "further substantive job creating powers" in the Smith recommendations.

    Stewart Hosie
     
  24.  
    Payday loans Lucy Adams BBC Scotland

    tweets: #smithcommission Scottish Parliament will have the power to prevent proliferation of Payday Loan shops

     
  25.  
    11:23: Darling's reaction

    Better Together leader Alistair Darling welcomes the recommendations but asks Alistair Carmichael to "ensure he does nothing to undermine the strength and integrity of the United Kingdom".

    Alistair Darling
     
  26.  
    11:21: Proposals 'will happen'

    The Scottish Secretary says the Smith recommendations will be implemented "without hesitation, without reservation and without equivocation".

    Alistair Carmichael
     
  27.  
    11:19: Carmichael praises compromise

    Mr Carmichael pays tribute to the Scottish Labour party for the "compromises and progress they have made".

     
  28.  
    11:18: Guarantees on budget

    Responding to Mr Carmichael in the House of Commons, Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran says: "We have secured Scottish guarantees over the voting rights on the budget."

    Margaret Curran
     
  29.  
    11:15: ICAS welcomes Commission

    ICAS, a professional body of Chartered Accountants, has welcomed the Smith Commission recommendations on further devolution to Scotland.

    Chief Executive Anton Colella said: "This is a huge moment for Scotland. With this significant transfer of powers comes major new responsibility for the Scottish Parliament.

    "We believe oversight of Government and the way the Parliament works must now be transformed. Scotland needs a new era of accountability, scrutiny and transparency to go in hand with our new financial powers."

    Coins and notes

    "This maintains the single UK market and we hope will provide the right conditions to grow business and prosperity in Scotland."

    ICAS also welcomed recommendations to improve collaboration between the Scottish and UK Governments.

     
  30.  
    11:13: Home rule

    Alistair Carmichael adds: "Having a more powerful Scottish parliament inside a strong United Kingdom will open the door to more constitutional change in the United Kingdom.

    "We can achieve home rule all round."

     
  31.  
    11:13: Historic moment

    Mr Carmichael says the Smith recommendations are "a significant achievement and a historic moment for Scotland and the United Kingdom".

     
  32.  
    11:08: Carmichael speech

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has started speaking about the Smith Commission in the House of Commons.

    Alistair Carmichael

    He said: "We back the agreement and will produce draft legislation in January."

     
  33.  
    11:00: Murphy: Talk about action

    Jim Murphy adds: ""The Vow has been met. Let's now talk about values and actions."

    "I have set out very clearly what I will do if I am elected Scottish Labour leader and First Minister. I will ask the wealthiest few in Scotland to pay a little bit more tax so that we can support our small businesses and reduce poverty.

    "Nicola Sturgeon must say once and for all whether she would do the same."

     
  34.  
    10:58: Murphy: Time to deliver

    Scottish Labour leadership candidate Jim Murphy said the vow of more powers for the Scottish parliament has "not only been delivered but exceeded".

    Jim Murphy

    He said: "The days of political parties in Scotland promising the earth but blaming someone else for their failure to deliver are well and truly over. There will be no hiding place for those parties which preach social justice but duck for cover when called to act.

    "The terms of the political debate in Scotland have now changed entirely. No longer will we obsess about the delivery of powers. That question has been answered today. The debate now moves from powers to policy."

     
  35.  
    10:53: Keeping the vow

    David Cameron, speaking on the BBC News Channel, said: "I'm delighted with what's been announced, we are keeping our promises and we're keeping our United Kingdom together."

    David Cameron

    He added: "I always said a No vote didn't mean no change. Indeed we made a vow of further devolution to Scotland and today we show how we're keeping that vow, and will continue to keep that promise.

    "The Scottish parliament is going to have much more responsibility in terms of spending money, but it will also have to be accountable for how it raises taxes to fund that spending and I think that's a good thing.

    "I think the report today also makes the case for English votes for English laws unanswerable and we'll be taking action on that shortly.

    "It's a good day for the UK."

     
  36.  
    10:51: 'Maximise business growth'

    Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the Smith commission's recommendations to help "maximise business growth".

    Liz Cameron

    She said: "Time is of critical importance and our priority is to ensure that the Scottish business community is at the core of implementing these recommendations.

    "Now, the responsibility is on politicians to come together and focus their collective talents and skills to deliver upon these recommendations and create the new Scotland which has the right economic levers to support our businesses, which are the creators of jobs and wealth."

     
  37.  
    10:43: STUC 'underwhelmed'

    Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said he was "underwhelmed" by the package of recommendations which "does not meet our aspirations".

    He added: "STUC continues to believe that control over employment law, equalities and minimum wages is a necessity if inequality is to be effectively challenged. We will continue to press for this.

    "The no detriment clause and retention of the Barnett Formula is to be welcomed but the proposals for further fiscal devolution do not go far enough. Without the key powers over inheritance and capital gains taxes, meaningful tax and land reform will be more difficult. "

     
  38.  
    10:35: Davidson: 'Real accountability'

    Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has endorsed the Smith commission's proposals.

    Ruth Davidson

    She said: "This is a plan which, for the first time since devolution, brings real accountability and real responsibility to the Scottish Parliament.

    "Future Scottish governments will have to look Scottish taxpayers in the eye when they are spending their money.

    "Successive administrations have been able to claim credit for public spending, and then blame Westminster when it runs out.

    "That now ends. The powers are there to do as they please."

     
  39.  
    Email newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 10:33: Your Reaction

    Lee Wootton: It's 100% of income tax raised in Scotland Nicola, of course it's gonna remain shared or did you want control of all income tax in the UK cause that's the only way you were gonna get 100% of income tax! Scotland has gotten a good start here. Don't blow it for us by screaming about what we didn't get!

    Jacqueline Baird: I just knew it. Five minutes gone and the SNP have started already complaining. No matter what was on offer it was not going to be enough. The panel was made up to represent all of the Scottish people. The majority of people did not vote for independence. Scotland has a lot more than the ordinary working class people in the rest of the UK.

    Peter: Revise the Barnett formula in line with the outcome of this report. English and Welsh taxes for English and Welsh people. The People's Republic of Caledonia must live within its own means with no subsidies from the rest of the UK.

     
  40.  
    #smithcommission 10:30: Journalists' views

    Martin Kettle, of The Guardian: John Swinney sets out the SNP's Smith Commission as a betrayal narrative.

    Tom Gordon, Scottish Political Editor of the Sunday Herald: "I'm just the referee," Lord Smith tells media briefing on #thevow as he repeatedly refuses to answer Qs on what it all means.

     
  41.  
    10:29: Sarwar: 'Good for Scotland'

    Anas Sarwar interim leader of the Scottish Labour Party, said of the Smith Commission agreement was "not in our own interests but in the interests of the Scotland and the people we serve".

    Anas Sawrwar

    "People wanted more decisions taken closer to home and that is what we have delivered," he added.

    "Today is a good day for Scotland and a good day for the Scottish Parliament."

     
  42.  
    10:25: Held to account

    The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has said the Smith commission proposals must be carefully evaluated and only introduced if they are fair to both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    Scottish money

    Craig Vickery, head of ACCA Scotland, said: "The closeness of the referendum vote made it clear to Westminster that the momentum for further devolution continues to build, and the Smith Commission proposals are the next step in delivering this.

    "My concern is that politicians will choose the proposals they like or are easiest to implement rather than looking at the package as a whole and how the individual parts affect both Scotland and the rest of the UK."

    He added: "The proposal for the full devolution of income tax is likely be of interest to most people, and with support from both Westminster and Holyrood looks likely to happen.

    "I would caution against setting a timetable too quickly on this however; both HMRC and Revenue Scotland need to be given as much time as they need to put the processes in place, rather than it being rushed through to meet public expectation of change sooner rather than later."

     
  43.  
    #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    Ewan Dow: So Iain Gray thinks #SmithCommission makes Scots Parl one of world's most powerful devolved Parls? German Länder just phoned. They laughed!

    James Bundy: The #smithcommission shows that the UK government will keep to their promise of further devolution and get control of income tax and A.P.D

    Euan Bryson: As they celebrate the Smith Commission, it is ironic that this report will consign unionist parties to the Scottish political history books.

    Iain: #smithcommission Good start and well done to Lord Smith for banging heads together to this degree...but where next from here?

     
  44.  
    10:19: Gordon Brown response

    Gordon Brown will formally respond to the Smith Commission recommendations in a speech to Scottish local councillors this weekend in Glasgow.

    Gordon Brown

    He will tell them: "The Vow to deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK has been kept, as promised, and the timetable for draft laws to be published in January will now be honoured, as promised."

    Mr Brown will say that the Commission, by deciding that income tax is a shared UK tax and savings tax and personal allowances will not be devolved, has "rightly rejected the Conservative proposal".

     
  45.  
    10:17: Parliament 'will be stronger'

    Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran says the commission's recommendations are "a promise kept and an agreement delivered".

    margaret currant

    She adds: "Today we respond to the call for change that we heard on 18 September with extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament. There shall be a stronger Scottish Parliament.

    "Politics in Scotland has changed forever and people want power close to them. This agreement today meets that demand with extensive new powers over tax, welfare and job creation being passed to the Scottish Parliament."

     
  46.  
    10:10: Edinburgh Airport reaction

    Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, welcomes the commission's recommendation that air passenger duty is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

    Edinburgh Airport

    He adds: "This should not and need not wait for legislation on other tax changes.

    "We strongly believe that there is a real case to see it devolved as soon as possible so that Scotland can capitalise fully on the benefits of this fantastic year where we have been in the global spotlight. The removal or reducing of this tax will see millions more passengers come to Scotland as our major airlines have indicated.

    "Airline planners are finalising 2015 now and we run the risk of losing that momentum as those people who wish to visit us are deterred by the highest aviation taxes in the world."

     
  47.  
    BBC's Charter Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Formal consultative role for Scot Gov and Scot Parl "in the process of reviewing the BBC's Charter" #smithcommission.

    Report says "strongly" believe abortion powers should be devolved and want "immediate" process to further consider #smithcommission

     
  48.  
    newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk Reaction: By email

    Chris Hegarty: Some nice headlines from the Smith Commission but scratch beneath the surface and it's just tinkering with issues such as welfare. I don't have any party allegiance but as a voter who wanted more powers I'm surprised, underwhelmed and disappointed.

    David, Glasgow: This is nothing like Devo Max, nor the 'home rule close to federalism' that Scots were promised. The Tories, Lib Dems and Labour will dress it up like it is something more than it is. Scots have been cheated, you can guarantee by the time these plans have gone through Westminster they will have been watered down as much as possible.

    Paul: If Scottish parliament get powers to raise income tax, then the Scottish MPs in Westminster should not be setting the income tax levels for the rest of the UK. Believe the PM about English Laws for England only? No!

     
  49.  
    10:01: What Scotland deal would mean for UK James Landale Deputy political editor

    "If Scotland gets the powers promised to it by the Smith commission, the consequences will be felt across the whole of the United Kingdom.

    Yes voters

    "First, there will be increased demands for more devolution elsewhere.

    "Many English MPs will want a greater say at Westminster over legislation that only affects England. William Hague is chairing a cabinet committee to come up with plans to make this happen, plans that will be published in a few weeks' time."

    Read James' full analysis

     
  50.  
    Smith expects...

    Severin Carrell, The Guardian's Scotland correspondent, tweets: Lord Smith says @David_Cameron pledged this morning #smithcommission wld be implemented "in full"; Smith expects total package be accepted

     
  51.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    Aamer Anwar: #smithcommission Just Recommendations, broken vows, no real powers 2eradicate poverty & at mercy of Westminster- BUSINESS AS USUAL.

    Stephen Crompton: You can't call this a win compared to what we could have had, not even a full step forward! A toe edged slightly closer? #smithcommission

    Pam Heinemeier: English votes for english laws was ALWAYS the favoured outcome of the Smith Commission.

    Andrew Smith: Whether or not everyone feels it goes far enough, it's fair to say #smithcommission represents a real and substantial change to devolution.

     
  52.  
    09:56: Life on the commission

    John Swinney described the Smith Commission as a "long and intense process".

    He adds: "There has been lots of cross words, and lots of laughter. It has not been an arduous process. Politicians can find some common ground.

    "What is helping us is we have had fabulous chairmanship from Lord Smith of Kelvin, who has delivered a tremendous service to Scotland in this process."

     
  53.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    Glen O'Hara: #Sturgeon initial measures really raised my hopes for good governance in #Scotland. #SNP reaction to #smithcommission has dashed them again.

    Kirstein Rummery: #smithcommission delivered one of the most/devolved, accountable and autonomous fed settlement in the world - more tax & spend power than US.

    Iain Docherty: So Scotland can't even decide which taxes it wants. 'As close to federalism as it gets'? #smithcommission

     
  54.  
    'Not 100% shared devolution'

    Nicola Sturgeon, in a second tweet said: Para 75 of #smith report - 'income tax will remain a shared tax'. So not 100% devolution as spun by Westminster parties.

     
  55.  
    09:43: 'Not home rule'

    Mr Swinney said parties had to compromise in the Smith Commission, adding: "This agreement does not fulfil all of my expectations or my ambitions and more importantly it doesn't fulfil the expectations or ambitions of the people of Scotland".

    The deputy first minister said: "This is not what people were promised in the last days of the referendum, when Gordon Brown promised a system that would be delivered which would be as close to federalism as was possible.

    "We were promised modern home rule. That has not been delivered today."

     
  56.  
    Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets Licensing of onshore #oil and #gas extraction underlying Scotland will be devolved to Holyrood #smithcommision

     
  57.  
    Nicola Sturgeon tweets

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweets: I welcome all new powers - and pay tribute to Lord Smith - but 70% of our taxes and 85% of welfare staying at Westminster not real home rule

     
  58.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    Gareth Clancy: more power for Scotland #SmithCommission on income tax & borrowing . Need strong "economic responsibility".

    Jim McLaughlin: Maggie Chapman, Greens justifiably angry with "collaborators." Can feel the hackles of the nation rising over #smithcommission sell-out.

    Rhiannon Valentine: Don't forget these are recommendations! We have no guarantee that this is what will actually be delivered. #SmithCommission

     
  59.  
    09:39: SNP disappointed over no job creating powers

    John Swinney, speaking on the BBC News Channel, said: "There are many aspects of this report which are welcome, which strengthen the powers of the Scottish parliament and give us the ability to tackle some of the issues that affect our citizens.

    "But what civic Scotland aspired for was the job creating powers that could transform our economy in Scotland, and control over the welfare system, over the minimum wage, over the things that would enable us to tackle the in-work poverty which is a central economic problem we face today and unfortunately we don't have those powers."

     
  60.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    John Daly: #smithcommission launches the vehicle that will deliver independence.

    Jimmy Walker: Hoped for a more robust proposal from Smith Commission. What makes it through Commons will be mere lip service.

    Allan Williams: Fairly sure SNP would have criticised Smith Commission report regardless of what it said.

     
  61.  
    09:37: What next?

    Lord Smith's recommendations, known as a Heads of Agreement, will form the basis of draft legislation due to be published by 25 January.

    The main parties at Westminster have pledged that the legislation will be taken forward regardless of the outcome of the general election in May.

     
  62.  
    Breaking News

    Key recommendations....

    • Power to set rates and bands on earned income and retain all income tax raised in Scotland.
    • Sixteen and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections.
    • Powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare.
    • Holyrood should have a share of VAT.
    • And Air Passenger Duty should be fully devolved.
     
  63.  
    09:35: Lib Dem view David Porter Westminster correspondent

    Liberal Democrat sources have welcomed the findings of the Smith Commission to give more powers to Holyrood as a "quality and substantive piece of work".

    The party says the proposals go further than the vow delivered by the three unionist party leaders just before September's referendum and, in effect, create a Scottish welfare system.

    Lib Dem sources say they believe other parties in the Smith Commission have moved stewards their line on a number of issues.

     
  64.  
    09:31: Spin begins

    And with that the conference is over, and politicians from all five parties make their way towards the assembled media to give their take on the proposals.

     
  65.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    Nick Heller: If Michael Moore genuinely thinks #smithcommission offers "Home Rule" he must have missed a day at school.

    Laura Mitchell: This is additional powers. This is not home rule. #smithcommission

     
  66.  
    09:31: Maggie Chapman

    Maggie Chapman of the Scottish Greens says the report gives at best some limited powers to stop austerity. She says they are content with borrowing powers outlined in the agreement.

    Maggie Chapman - Greens

    Says she will scrutinise what comes out of Westminster in coming weeks and months and will ensure going forward that the voice of the Scottish people is heard.

     
  67.  
    English votes for English laws

    Mr Cameron, in a second tweet, said: This is a good day for the UK. Before Christmas I will bring forward proposals on English votes for English laws.

     
  68.  
    David Cameron tweets

    David Cameron, the Prime Minister, tweets 1/2 I'm delighted with the Smith report on devolution. We are keeping our promise to the Scottish people.

     
  69.  
    09:28: New responsibility

    Michael Moore says Smith Commission proposals will give Holyrood £20bn of tax and £2.5bn of welfare powers.

     
  70.  
    09:27: Full integration

    Michael Moore says the report ensures Scotland will continue to benefit from full integration in the UK-wide economy.

     
  71.  
    09:26: The Vow

    Michael Moore of the Scottish Liberal Democrats says Smith Commission proposals give "home rule for Scotland" and amount to a transformation of Scotland's political settlement and also a transformation of the UK.

    Michael Moore

    He says the proposals have "delivered on the vow and more" and said the agreement was a "great day for Scotland".

     
  72.  
    09:25: 'Exciting future'

    Ms Goldie says the report is the "next step in a very exciting future for Scotland".

     
  73.  
    09:24: Taxpayers

    Annabelle Goldie says the Conservatives wanted the report to be a "floor not a ceiling". She said Holyrood politicians would now have to look taxpayers in the eye, and predicted the proposals will bring stability to UK.

     
  74.  
    09:23: Demand for change

    Ms Goldie says the independence referendum showed a clear demand for change, and Smith Commission report has delivered on this.

     
  75.  
    09:22: Annabel Goldie
    Annabel Goldie

    Former Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie is up now. She starts by paying tribute to Lord Smith's ability to keep control of 10 unruly politicians.

     
  76.  
    Read it for yourself Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: If you want to read Smith's #devolution recommendations; his report is here.

     
  77.  
    09:21: Iain Gray

    Iain Gray, who represented Labour on the commission, describes today's proposals as "a promise kept"

    Iain Gray- Labour
     
  78.  
    09:18: Job creation
    John Swinney

    Mr Swinney said the SNP wanted job creation powers, but these are not proposed

     
  79.  
    09:18: John Swinney

    John Swinney, one of the SNP's representatives on the Commission, said the party played "a full and constructive part" in the Smith Commission.

    He welcomes the new powers that will come to Scotland and pledges to work constructively with the UK government to implement the Commission's proposals.

     
  80.  
    Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    tweets: Lord Smith calls for; more powers to local level: better MSP oversight: better inter-govt working: improved public awareness of current devo.

    Lord Smith of Kelvin stepping back from his Devo More role now. No intention of playing further role.

     
  81.  
    09:15: Party tributes

    Lord Smith praised the ten members of the commission, who were representing Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the SNP.

     
  82.  
    09:15: Far enough?

    Lord Smith said that following the independence referendum, some people will feel the Smith Commission's proposals have "gone too far, some not far enough".

     
  83.  
    09:13: Public opinion

    Lord Smith highlights the submissions made by members of the public and organisations, and makes his own recommendations from those submissions. These include:

    • Devolution from the Scottish Parliament to local communities
    • Improved inter-governmental working between Westminster and Holyrood
     
  84.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction on twitter

    Peter MacMahon tweets: Smith Commission "stronger Scottish Parliament more accountable more autonomous ".

    Smith Commission
     
  85.  
    09:11: 'Change cannot be rushed'

    Lord Smith says this was not an agreement of five parties "sitting in isolation".

    He says every proposed changed is "workable".

    "Change of this magnitude cannot be rushed through", he adds

     
  86.  
    Tweet using #smithcommission Reaction: On twitter

    Daniel Kenealy, lecturer of politics and public policy at Edinburgh University tweets: Lord Smith argues that reaching consensus is, in itself, an accomplishment. Hard to disagree with that. #smithcommission

     
  87.  
    09:09: Voting

    Lord Smith recommends the Scottish Parliament will be made permanent in UK legislation and given powers over how it is elected and run, including the power to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote.

     
  88.  
    09:09: Benefits

    The Scottish Parliament will be given powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare. Also a range of other benefits that support older people, carers, disabled people and those who are ill will be fully devolved.

    Lord Smith addressing conference
     
  89.  
    09:08: Income tax

    The Scottish Parliament will be given the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned income and will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland. A share of VAT will be assigned to the parliament and Air Passenger Duty will be fully devolved.

     
  90.  
    09:07: Holyrood accountability

    Lord Smith says the Scottish Parliament will be "more accountable" following the agreement.

     
  91.  
    09:06: Historic agreement?

    Lord Smith describes the agreement between the five parties as "an achievement in itself", following the independence referendum.

     
  92.  
    Lorna Gordon BBC News Scotland correspondent

    tweets: Smith commission report runs to 28 pages - sets out the agreement reached between all five of Scotland's main political parties.

     
  93.  
    09:05: Here we go..

    The press conference on the Smith Commission has begun at the National Museum of Scotland.

    Lord Kelvin at Smith Commission conference
     
  94.  
    09:03: What's inside?

    This is the book that will set out what new powers the commission has recommended be devolved to Holyrood.

    Smith Commission
     
  95.  
    08:57: Smith Commission

    The SNP tweets this picture of the Smith Commission, ahead of the conference.

    Smith commission lined up
     
  96.  
    08:52: 10 minutes to go...

    The press are setting up for Smith Commission conference, which begins around 09:00.

    Press setting up for Smith Commission
    Press setting up for Smith Commission

    You can watch the live stream of the conference by clicking on the live coverage section on this page.

     
  97.  
    08:45: Income tax

    Professor Richard Kerley, Chair of the Centre of Scottish Public policy, told Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland what would happen if the Scottish Parliament gets full control over income tax rates and bands.

    He said: "How it would work in practice is to build on the arrangements that are currently being put in place under the 2012 act for the Scottish Parliament to levy a proportion of income tax within Scotland. Whether that would be exercised through HMRC is clearly still to be determined.

    "In effect, if what we are being told is the entry point for income tax - that is the personal allowance - retains a UK-wide level, then over and above that it would be up to the Scottish Parliament to recommend the rate in the pound of income tax and the bands at which income tax is levied."

     
  98.  
    08:29: Analysis - Douglas Fraser

    'The Scottish Parliament has had 15 years of spending power with very little taxation accountability.

    Scottish money

    'That's about to change, a lot, if the Smith Commission "heads of agreement" translate into workable new devolution legislation.

    'There is a political case for such radical changes.'

    Read the analysis of BBC Scotland's Business and Economy Editor Douglas Fraser

     
  99.  
    08:23: Who is Lord Smith?

    His name may be familiar to you after the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as he served as chairman of the organising committee.

    Lord Smith of Kelvin

    Lord Smith of Kelvin was then appointed to oversee the process of devolving more powers to Scotland.

    Find out more about him.

     
  100.  
    08:18: Who was on the Commission?

    Ten people - two representatives each from the SNP, Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens - made up the Smith Commission.

    Lord Smith commission panel

    Find out who they were.

     

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