The SNP are seeking more tax and welfare powers
The SNP are seeking more tax and welfare powers in the Scotland Bill while the UK government told the party to “stop talking and start doing”. Ahead of the Scotland Bill’s second reading on Monday, the SNP said the bill was “woefully lacking”. The Scottish Liberal Democrats described the party’s amendment to the bill as “game playing”.
Labour said the SNP’s manifesto commitment to full fiscal autonomy had been abandoned. In its amendment to the bill on Monday, the SNP will argue that the proposed measures “fall short of what people in Scotland want and what Scotland’s economy and society need”. The amendment states the party “believes that the legislation would be strengthened by the inclusion of additional devolved powers over job creation, taxation, welfare and wages as early priorities as Scotland moves to a position in the medium term where the Scottish Parliament and Government are responsible for all revenue raising”.
It will also say that the legislation will not fully implement the agreement reached by the five political parties in the Smith Commission. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said the bill was “woefully lacking”. He added: “The Smith powers are widely seen as the bare minimum which should be delivered to Scotland.”It is abundantly clear that there needs to be substantial changes and improvements to bring the bill up to scratch – and to deliver the powers people in Scotland want to see.” A UK government spokesman said: “First, the UK government is delivering the Smith Agreement in full through the Scotland Bill. Second, there are no vetoes. Third, the people of Scotland voted to remain part of the UK last year and this Bill delivers new power in that context.
“Finally, the Scottish government already has a wide range of powers to create economic growth and tackle poverty – and it is about to get more.” Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie accused the SNP of playing games. He said: “First it was full fiscal autonomy then full fiscal responsibility – now both of those have been forgotten. “The SNP know that their economic plans are bad for Scotland. “If they really had the courage of their convictions they would have tabled an amendment mentioning full fiscal responsibility.” Ian Murray, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Scotland, said: “The SNP promised in their manifesto to deliver full fiscal autonomy, but they have barely settled into their Westminster offices before completely abandoning it.”The SNP know their policy of full fiscal autonomy would be a disaster for Scotland, they just won’t admit it.” He added: “Labour will seek to amend the Scotland Bill to ensure the Smith Agreement is delivered in full alongside greater powers over welfare to deliver one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.”