Holyrood should give its legislative consent to the Scotland Bill, says Devolution Committee

11.03.2016

The Scottish Parliament should, next week, give its legislative consent to Westminster passing the Scotland Bill - the key recommendation to all MSPs in a parliamentary report published today.

The endorsement of the UK Bill by Holyrood’s Devolution Committee is a “significant milestone in a remarkable political process”, says Committee Convener Bruce Crawford MSP.

The report by the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee scrutinises both the detail of the Scotland Bill and the new powers it will devolve to Holyrood, and the recently agreed Fiscal Framework that will underpin Scotland's finances for the next five years.

Bruce Crawford, Convener of the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee said:

“Our committee’s unanimous recommendation that legislative consent be given to the Scotland Bill is a significant milestone in a remarkable political process, that originates from the cross-party Smith Commission.

“There are still some areas where we feel the Scotland Bill continues to fall short of the spirit and substance of Smith, notably in relation to the devolution of employment programmes and the future operation of the legislative consent provision.

“Nevertheless, the Bill has been improved during its passage through our detailed scrutiny, and we welcome the fact that the Secretary of State for Scotland listened to our arguments - most notably on enshrining in the Bill the need for a referendum of the Scottish people on any proposal ever to abolish the Scottish Parliament.”

On the Fiscal Framework, Mr Crawford said:

“On the basis of information provided by both the Scottish and UK governments, we are prepared to endorse the fiscal framework that underpins the powers to be devolved.

“The agreement that has been signed off by both governments ensures there will be no detriment to the Scottish budget. This represents a fair and sustainable position.

“However, more clarity is still needed on the five year transitional arrangements and for the review process for the fiscal framework, including what happens in 2021/22 if both governments don’t agree on next steps.

“On balance, the Devolution Committee recommends the Scottish Parliament gives its legislative consent to the Scotland Bill.”

Mr Crawford concluded:

“Following the election in May, the new Parliament will have a big job to do in scrutinising legislation that will flow from the new powers it will have.”

Background

The full Scottish Parliament will debate a legislative consent motion on Wednesday 16 March. If consent is given, the Scotland Bill will be able to proceed and complete its parliamentary passage at Westminster.

Read the Committee’s report ‘New Powers for Scotland: Final Report on the Scotland Bill'

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