Scotland politics

SNP calls for major post-No powers

Scottish Parliament Image copyright Reuters
Image caption All the Scottish Parliament parties have made the case for more power to be transferred to Holyrood

The Scottish government has called for full control over fiscal and tax policy to be devolved from Westminster, in the wake of the vote against independence.

SNP ministers also called for powers over welfare and broadcasting in its submission to the body looking into strengthening the Edinburgh parliament.

And opposition parties have argued for a range of new Holyrood powers, in their cases to the Smith Commission.

Lord Smith aims to agree a way forward by the end of November.

That would come before the eventual introduction of legislation on new powers, although there are several areas of disagreement in the proposals put forward by the Holyrood parties.

The Smith Commission was established by PM David Cameron after 55% of voters in Scotland backed remaining part of the UK, against 45% who favoured independence, in September's referendum.

The Scottish government called for a wide range of powers to be transferred from Westminster to Holyrood, including control over income tax, national insurance, corporation tax, capital gains tax, fuel duty, air passenger duty and inheritance tax.

SNP ministers also said welfare and employment policy must be devolved, as well as other areas like energy and broadcasting.

In other submissions:

  • Labour said it wanted powers which would allow the Scottish government to raise 40% of its own budget and increase the top rate of tax, as well as control over housing benefit and attendance allowance, but said other areas, like VAT, should remain with Westminster

Analysis by Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent

This is the day Scotland's independence supporting parties demand devo-max.

That in effect is what the SNP (in the form of the Scottish government) and the Scottish Greens are asking Lord Smith to deliver in their submissions to his commission on further devolution.

They still support independence and do not intend to stop campaigning for it.

But having lost the referendum three weeks ago, their immediate objective is to push for the biggest possible transfer of power from Westminster to Holyrood.

Their submissions ask for less than they actually want but much more than the pro-union parties are likely to agree.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are sticking with their various blueprints for some additional tax and welfare powers as a starting point for discussion.

Any compromises they might make have yet to come.


Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she still believed in independence, but added: "I accept the result of the referendum and acknowledge that independence will not be the result of the Smith Commission process.

"The Scottish government intends to play a full and constructive part in the process to deliver substantial new powers for the Scottish Parliament.

"This will include working to ensure that the outcome meets the high expectations of the people of Scotland as expressed in the referendum, given the various promises of 'devo max', 'near federalism' and 'home rule' which were made."

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, added: "On September 18, people voted for the best of both worlds - a strong Scottish Parliament backed by the United Kingdom - and we are determined that this is what they will get.

"We want to build a consensus for positive change and deliver on the promises made during the referendum campaign.

"So we will work together with the other parties involved in this commission to come to a conclusion that will provide the best future for the people of Scotland."

Willie Rennie, the Scottish Lib Dem leader, said home rule for Scotland was his party's key objective, adding: "The political energy unlocked by the referendum and the desire for change now requires us to create a bold and entrenched settlement with a substantial package of powers for Scotland.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Lord Smith asked the parties to submit their plans ahead of talks on more powers for Holyrood

"Now is not the time for a timid approach, but one that seizes the opportunity we have for a principled, democratic transfer of power to Scotland within a rebalanced United Kingdom."

"We must establish a stable solution, which does not risk tipping Scotland into independence, given that was rejected by a majority in the referendum."

Conservative constitution spokeswoman Annabel Goldie, said: "It remains our clear policy that the Scottish Parliament should be responsible for setting the rates and bands of personal income tax for Scottish taxpayers and that a share of VAT receipts should be assigned to the Scottish Parliament.

"Any plans for further devolution which undermined the Union would run counter to the clearly expressed, settled and sovereign will of the Scottish people.

"Further, a new constitutional settlement for the Union must accommodate not only the interests and aspirations of Scots, but also the legitimate interests and aspirations of our fellow citizens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie, argued: "The danger is that the infectious energy of the referendum debate is followed by the familiar sight of a stitch-up between political parties.

Image caption All five Scottish political parties have two representatives to the commission

"The Scottish people were promised what some called 'devo max' and others called 'home rule'. Tightly limited tax powers designed to force Holyrood to follow Westminster's austerity agenda would be unacceptable."

Meanwhile, Lord Smith revealed his timetable for discussions had slipped, saying the first all-party meeting of the commission would now be held on 22 October, rather than next week.

However, he said talks with individual parties would be held over the next seven days.

Elsewhere, Lord Smith, who has asked for views on Scotland's powers from civic groups, said he had spoken with the leaders of over 50 organisations and written to a further 80 asking for their views.

And he added that the commission had received more than 700 emails from members of the public.

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Media captionNicola Sturgeon says she is "willing to compromise" when working with other political parties in the Smith Commission

The Holyrood parties each have two representatives on the Smith Commission.

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