Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has described the Scotland Bill as a “missed opportunity” following the debate and vote in the Scottish Parliament which saw the Legislative Consent Motion passing.
Linda, who was Convener of the Scotland Bill Committee, said:
“I welcome any measure of increased autonomy for Scotland and voted for it, but it is clear that the Bill does not bring forward the real change the People of Scotland are looking for, nor does it address the real question which Scotland itself will decide on in two years’ time when we vote in the Independence Referendum.
“It falls far short of what is required, and has been completely overtaken by events, with all parties seeking to go much further than the limited new powers offered by the Bill – it is a missed opportunity.
“The Bill was an opportunity to get powers to give Scotland the tools to stimulate the economy and create jobs, to have greater control over income tax, and to get welfare benefit powers to balance economic and social policies. Even on that issue, on which a degree of unanimity exists, no quarter was given.
“The country is still having a debate over its future and it is generally agreed that further devolution will come. The question, of course, is when.
“The reality is that Scotland could be an independent country before many of these new powers come into being, such is the legislative process. Given that many already feel this Bill, does not go far enough, how long do the People of Scotland have to wait until Westminster can deliver a devolution settlement that satisfies the ambitions of Scotland?
“If the original bill ever was a line in the sand, as one person called it, that line has been well and truly crossed. That is the problem with lines in the sand, the tide of public opinion washes them away.
“I think that the Bill can be supported because real issue of financial harm to Scotland, which was inherent in the original proposals, have been lifted. However, Scotland deserves more and, indeed, should have more.
“It is the responsibility of every representative in the Parliament to lay out their case for what, in their opinion, Scotland can and should be.
“I want those who live in Scotland to have the right to make the decisions that affect us, after all, those who live here are surely the best placed to do that. I look forward to the referendum in 2014 and believe that people will recognise then that the current bill was a missed opportunity and that they will not trust the anti-independence parties, which consistently make promises but do not deliver when the opportunity presents itself.”
Notes – Lib Dem u-turns:
1. Crown Estates – In 1998 the LibDems proposed amending the Scotland Bill to devolve the Crown Estates to the Scottish Parliament. Now Michael Moore is saying they will oppose this.
2. European representation – In 1998 the LibDems proposed amending the Scotland Bill to allow Scottish Executive Ministers to have the right of statutory representation in the Council of Ministers. Now they are suggesting that they will oppose this.
3. Corporation Tax – In his submission to the Calman Commission on behalf of the Scottish LibDems the then leader Tavish Scott called for corporation tax to be devolved with “all revenues accruing directly to the Scottish Parliament”. Now they are opposing this.
4. Excise duty – In his submission to the Calman Commission on behalf of the Scottish LibDems the then leader Tavish Scott called for tobacco and alcohol duties, along with fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, to be devolved with “all revenues accruing directly to the Scottish Parliament”. Now they are signalling they will oppose this.
5. Broadcasting – In the LibDems’ Steel Commission it was said that there should be much greater accountability to the Scottish Parliament and regular reporting from the BBC with a formal role for the Scottish Parliament in the charter renewal process. No positive response to the Scottish Government’s similar proposals have been received.