Sturgeon Unimpressed at New Powers Lined Up for Scotland

June 2, 2015

A range of governmental powers look set to be devolved from Westminster to the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh but Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon remains dissatisfied at the scope of the changes being made.

Sturgeon has claimed that the legislation being presented to the UK parliament in London this week does not go far enough in terms of giving powers to Scotland’s politicians to manage their own affairs.

She has insisted that the results of the recent general election provide a clear mandate for change in terms of the way that Scotland is governed.

For his part, British prime minister David Cameron has said that the Scotland Bill, which was put before parliament as part of the Queen’s Speech this week, will make Scotland the most powerful devolved assembly anywhere in the world.

The UK government has also said that the Scotland Bill lays out a clear path for promises made in the wake of the Scottish independence vote to be fulfilled.

Sturgeon though has described the 76-page Scotland Bill as falling short of her expectations in “almost every way,” despite the draft legislation being set to give Edinburgh powers to raise taxes across Scotland.

A particular concern of the first minister is understood to be the lack of power the bill apparently offers Scotland when it comes to managing its own welfare budgets.

“The bill doesn’t contain the full welfare powers recommended by the Smith Commission and in some key powers it retains, unbelievably in my view, given the amount of concern that was expressed about this, it retains a veto for the UK government on key policy areas,” she said when addressing the Scottish parliament in Holyrod.

“So, for example, if this parliament wants to abolish the bedroom tax, as I hope we do, the UK government would still have a right of veto over whether we could do it or not. Now I’m sorry, but that is not devolution,” Sturgeon said.

The Smith Commission was a cross-party group established to define what powers might be devolved to Scotland soon after the country’s voters rejected independence in September 2014.

“The UK government, I think, had a very clear test today to deliver a bill which lived up in full, in spirit and in letter, to the Smith Commission,” Sturgeon said. “The bill…falls short in almost every area.”

John Baird

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