The Smith Commission / Scotland to control £14bn of income tax and welfare benefits in cross-party deal

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 27/11/2014
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Following the referendum vote on 18 September 2014, Scotland will remain as part of the United Kingdom with its own Parliament. There is a willingness, shared by all five of Scotland’s political parties, to strengthen the powers of the Scottish Parliament within the UK.

On 19 September 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that Lord Smith of Kelvin had agreed to oversee the process to take forward the devolution commitments on further powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Lord Smith asked the five political parties represented at the Scottish Parliament to give them him their views by Friday 10 October 2014 on what further powers should be devolved to Holyrood. These proposals provided the basis of the political negotiations along with the views received from civil institutions and the public (all these submission are accessible via this website)

The package of recommendations of the Smith Commission were published on the 27 November 2014.

The recommendations included:

+ The Parliament will be given the power to set income tax rates and bands on earned income and will retain all of the income tax raised in Scotland. A share of VAT will be assigned to the Parliament and Air Passenger Duty will be fully devolved.

+ The Parliament will be made permanent in UK legislation and given powers over how it is elected and run including the power to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote.

+ The Parliament will be given powers to create new benefits in devolved areas and make discretionary payments in any area of welfare. Also a range of other benefits that support older people, carers, disabled people and those who are ill will be fully devolved.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that draft clauses to take forward Lord Smith’s recommendations into legislation will be produced in January 2015. He also confirmed that proposals will be brought forward on English votes for English laws before Christmas 2014.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) welcomed the proposed new powers welcome but said they fell short of what had been promised.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Proposals for further devolution of powers to Scottish Parliament
ESO: Background information: Find all further information in ESO on the Scottish referendum 2014
ESO: Background information: More Powers for the Scottish Parliament: Scottish Government Proposals
ESO: Scottish independence referendum, 2014
BBC News, 27.11.14: Scotland 'should set own income tax', says Smith Commission
UK: Parliament: House of Commons: Business: News, 27.11.14: Statement on the Smith Commission: 27 November 2014
BBC News: Tag: Smith Commission
The Guardian, 27.11.14: Scotland to control £14bn of income tax and welfare benefits in cross-party deal
The Smith Commission: Press release, 27.11.14: Final agreement on further powers for the Scottish Parliament
UK: GOV.UK: Prime Minister's Office: News, 27.11.24: Smith Commission: Prime Minister responds
SNP: Press Release, 27.11.14: Smith - New powers welcome but fall short of vow
The Conversation, 27.11.14: UK faces big changes if it is to survive new Scottish shake-up
The Conversation, 27.11.14: If Westminster delivers, Scotland will have one of the world’s most powerful devolved parliaments
openDemocracy: Our Kingdom, 28.11.14: Experts respond to the Smith Commission
openDemocracy: Our Kingdom, 28.11.14: Lord Smith, King Alexander, and what it all means for England
ESO: Background information: Proposals to the Smith Commission on Further Powers in EU and International Affairs
ESO: Background information: The Smith Commission’s Welfare Proposals
ESO: Background information: The Smith Commission Report- Overview

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