Anne McTaggart MSP has thrown her support behind the Smith Commission Report which has outlined extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Ten members were appointed to a Commission chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin to detail what those powers should be. Aside from those from the political parties, some 17,000 submissions were considered. Last Thursday the Commission unveiled their report at the National Museum in Edinburgh.
The powers proposed will transform the Scottish Parliament, making it one of the most powerful devolved legislatures anywhere in the world, including some federal countries.
Holyrood will set all rates and bands for personal Income Tax, control the programmes which get unemployed people into jobs, and take responsibility for £2.5 billion worth of welfare benefits.
Ms McTaggart said “I’m pleased that the vow we made before the referendum has been delivered and that Ed Miliband has committed to implementing the Smith Commission in full in his first Queen’s Speech. This represents a massive shift in power from Westminster to Holyrood, giving the Scottish Parliament the power to introduce new benefits, make tax fairer, design a more effective work programme and allow people living with disability or long term illness treated with greater respect and dignity.
The report strikes the balance between greater autonomy for the Scottish Parliament and the strength and security of continued UK membership; keeping the social union of Pensions, Social Security and Child Benefit which Scots supported when they voted No to independence. MSPs will face greater responsibility and more accountability for raising public funds, and I look forward to it being implemented under a Labour Government who will use these new powers to make Scotland a fairer and more prosperous nation.”
The Report proposals represent significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament:
- Holyrood will be responsible for around 60 per cent of the funds it spends
- We can, if we choose, reintroduce a 50p tax rate for top earners, and a 10p rate to help lower earners.
- We can redesign the work programme to get people into work more effectively, and redeploy hundreds of millions of pounds worth of disability benefits to re-inject dignity and respect into the system.
- We can attack child poverty by supplementing child benefit for families under stress.
- We can reform carers allowance to give carers the rights they deserve, and finally match attendance allowance and DLA to our own Scottish system of care of the elderly.
- We can create new benefits of our own, something currently disallowed by the Scotland Act.
- We will be able to use extended borrowing powers to build the houses we need; decide for ourselves about fracking; gender balance the boards of public bodies; bring ScotRail back into the public sector; and give 16- and 17-year-olds the vote.
The Smith Commission Report can be read in full here.