Scotland Bill

The commitment of the UK coalition government to introduce a Scotland Bill, enhancing the powers and responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament, has been widely welcomed. However, the central part of such a bill – whether and to what extent to give Holyrood tax-raising powers – is shrouded in uncertainty. The appointment of a new Secretary of State over the weekend has added to this sense of confusion.

We write to voice our concern that such an important feature of devolution needs mature and open consideration before decisions are taken. In particular, we hope that the various options can be properly scrutinised and that our politicians should seek consensus on the best way forward.

Such a consensus needs to extend beyond political parties and governments to include wider civil society and the people of Scotland. Many non-governmental bodies played a pivotal role in winning the argument for a Scottish Parliament – it would be sadly ironic if tax-raising proposals were now to be agreed by a working group in Westminster on a parliamentary timetable which does not allow for wider debate.

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Taking a participative approach to the development of policy and legislation is one of the founding principles of our parliament. We urge both the Scottish and UK governments to adopt this principle in addressing the issue of tax-raising powers.


Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations




Church of Scotland Church and Society Council


Institute of Directors