Scotland Bill Committee sets out its programme

23.12.2010

Financial aspects of the Scotland Bill, including taxation and borrowing, the experience of other legislatures, “re-reserved” powers, air guns, speed limits, the BBC Trust and the Crown Estate will all be examined by the Scottish Parliament next year - according to a programme recently set out by the Scotland Bill Committee.

The Committee, set-up this month to scrutinise the legislation introduced by Westminster, will be calling a range of witnesses, from industrialists to lawyers, to give their views and help shape its report.

The Committee has already taken evidence from UK Government and Scottish Government ministers, including John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, who appeared at yesterday’s meeting. During the meeting the Committee asked Mr Swinney for his detailed analysis and modelling of the economic consequences of full fiscal autonomy. The Committee is keen to ensure that it has access to detailed figures for the impacts of the provisions in the Scotland Bill on taxation and the grant reduction mechanism and to be able to compare these on a consistent basis with alternatives.

Wendy Alexander MSP, Convener of the Scotland Bill Committee, said:

“I particularly welcome the fact that Mr Swinney told the Committee that, for the first time, we shall see full disclosure and costing of full fiscal autonomy and be able to compare this on a like-for-like basis with the provisions in the Scotland Bill.

“This will help inform our scrutiny of the Bill. Future meetings will explore the key financial and non-financial aspects of the Bill. Our inquiry will also have an international aspect as we’re inviting witnesses from other jurisdictions, including Spain and Canada, to talk about their experiences.”

Below is the planned programme for future meetings:

11/1/11 Evidence on the income tax, borrowing and provisions on other taxes with evidence from academics and other experts.

18/1/11 Round table to gather evidence on experience of other jurisdictions and financing models; Evidence from representatives of the Calman Commission.

25/1/11 Evidence on the re-reserving of powers to regulate insolvency and health professions and whether they should remain as a devolved powers; Evidence on the implications for business of the provisions in the Bill.

1/2/11 Evidence on the other non-financial aspects of the Bill, including: airguns; speed limits and drink driving; BBC Trust; Crown Estate Commissioners; and Elections; Evidence on parts of the Bill covered by the Advocate General for Scotland, eg referrals to the Supreme Court and international obligations.

8/2/11 To be announced.

Please note the above schedule is for planning purposes and could be subject to change. Meetings are expected to take place on Tuesdays at 2.15pm.

The Committee will publish its report in late February/early March and the report will then be debated in the Chamber.

Background

The Scotland Bill Committee comprises: Wendy Alexander MSP (Convener), Brian Adam MSP (Deputy Convener), Peter Peacock MSP, Tricia Marwick MSP, David McLetchie MSP and Robert Brown MSP.

The Committee expects to produce its report by end February/early March 2011.

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