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MS2 - Scotland  

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Faye Gallacher
(@faye-gallacher)
Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 247
10/08/2019 7:19 pm  

Madame Speaker,

With your permission I would just like to update the House on the government’s devolution proposals. I have made clear in this House that the provisions of the Scotland bill did not go far enough, and that this government would take clear steps to ensure we had a Scotland free to pursue its own destiny within the Union.

The government therefore proposes a strong devolution package to ensure Scotland is strong within the union but able to pursue its destiny within that union. The provisions of that include ensuring that powers that were proposed to be devolved to Scotland within the Wales Act, tabled by this government, are delivered regardless of the Wales bills’ passage through law and the results of the upcoming referendums in Wales. Those powers include onshore oil and gas authority, rail franchising with specific powers for public franchising and energy efficiency.

We seek to also deliver new powers to the Scottish people within this devolutionary package, with this including the devolution of Air Passenger Duty, the devolution of key social security benefits which include the best start grant, carer’s allowance, cold spell heating assistance, disability assistance, discretionary housing payments, employment injury assistance, funeral expenses assistance, winter heating assistance and the housing elements contained within the Universal Credit system.

What we will also seek to devolve, Madame Speaker, is devolving key economic levers that extend beyond taxing and spending – a crucial element of which is, especially with the devolution of income tax, borrowing powers. The amount the government seeks to devolve varies, though this government aims for it to be in the region of borrowing powers of up to ten billion pounds.

I can confirm that we have discussed these devolutions with the Scottish government, Madame Speaker, and have negotiated that these agreements. Both the Scottish and the United Kingdom government have agreed that these proposals would make for a stronger Scotland. We discussed the nuances of these proposals, and they will soon be presented to the House in legislation.

The Scottish government has also confirmed that it believes it had the fiscal strength to obtain up to £10 billion in borrowing powers. I have instructed the Treasury in my capacity as Chancellor to assess this further, and have received confirmation that these are powers the Scottish government can have – and use – without causing any serious fiscal disruption for either Scotland or the rest of the United Kingdom.

Madame Speaker, even this government knows that the Scotland Act did not close a chapter on Scotland’s journey to self-determination within the United Kingdom. Similarly, we acknowledge that these proposals do not either. That is why I instructed a Committee for Scottish devolution to be established, consisting of one member of each of the Scottish parties elected to the Scottish region within the Senate, within Scottish Westminster constituencies and within parties elected to the Scottish Parliament. This committee will explore and recommend further devolutions that should be made and will explore the viability of full fiscal autonomy with Scotland, regardless of whether it chooses to make that recommendation or not.

Madame Speaker, within the past few months I made it absolutely clear that we wanted to see a Scotland strong to fulfil its own destiny within a strong United Kingdom. No single bill will be a silver bullet, and we must ensure we get devolution right as much as we get devolution. With this announcement, I hope I have outlined that this government takes this goal very seriously.

"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.


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Sir Geoffrey Birch
(@sir-geoffrey)
MP for Bexhill & Battle
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 98
12/08/2019 9:12 pm  

Madam Speaker,

No devolved authority has ever made use of any of the tax powers they already have. Scotland, indeed, has had tax altering powers for approaching 20 years without ever using them. Since they are evidently already greater than is required, in what way can they be said to "not go far enough"?

Sir Geoffrey Birch | Conservative Party
MP for Bexhill & Battle (2001-present)
Former MP for Northampton South (1983-1997)
Parliamentary experience: Novice (28)
Media experience: Novice (22)
Policy experience: Unknown (12)

Formerly: Deborah Carpenter, Conservative, MP for Hertford & Stortford, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer


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Faye Gallacher
(@faye-gallacher)
Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 247
13/08/2019 4:11 am  

Madam Speaker,

I thank the Member for Bexhill and Battle for his intervention. 

To him and others I would say that just because an economic tool isn't deployed, that does not mean it is redundant, and I think this is a case of what Scotland deserves as much as what is useful for Scotland. Naturally, I believe Scotland are perfectly entitled to a variety of economic tools as its disposal - whether it chooses to employ them or not.

Secondly, I think the Member validates why I believe the Scotland bill did not go far enough. I believe that the previous Leader of the Opposition, as well intentioned as he was, viewed Scotland and devolution from a rather Englishcentric point of view, where most if not all of the tools granted to Scotland were economic - particularly relating to taxation - in nature. I strongly believe we need to be more innovative and more wide ranging about the powers we devolve to Scotland. 

"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.


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William (Will) Conway
(@will-conway)
MP for Milton Keynes North
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 99
16/08/2019 2:15 am  

*Belches loudly.*

 

Bloody hell, no more lamb vindaloo for lunch.

Will Conway
Conservative
MP for Milton Keynes North (2014- )
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy,
Environment and Climate Change (2016)

Parliamentary 16
Media 14
Policy 8


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