Home rule campaigners disappointed by Command Paper

Ben Thomson says the Command Paper does not deliver enough.''Picture: Ian Rutherford
Ben Thomson says the Command Paper does not deliver enough.''Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A PAPER setting out new powers for Holyrood has been branded a “real missed opportunity” by Scottish home rule campaigners.

Ben Thomson, chairman of the Campaign for Scottish Home Rule, said the draft clauses of legislation that have been published by the UK government were a “compromise that lack a sense of purpose”.

UK government ministers insist the proposals, in the wake of the cross-party Smith Commission on further devolution, will see Holyrood become one of the most powerful devolved bodies anywhere in the world.

But as the command paper containing the clauses was unveiled, Mr Thomson said: “The Command Paper will only lead to the Scottish Parliament raising 37.7 per cent of what it spends, which does not mean a financially accountable Holyrood. The announcement that Holyrood will receive 50 per cent of VAT collected in Scotland does not increase this either, as assignation of revenues doesn’t transfer power or real responsibility.”


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He added: “The real missed opportunity in this Command Paper is that it does not deliver a sustainable proposal based on a set of principles that gives the Scottish Parliament control over domestic policy; in other words, it does not deliver Scottish Home Rule.”

But CBI director general John Cridland said: “This legislation brings to life the ambitious cross-party consensus of the Smith Commission, giving Scotland new powers while protecting the key tenets of the UK single market, like a unified corporation tax regime.”

New CBI Scotland director Hugh Aitken said: “Scottish businesses want to see devolution that supports a strong business environment and encourages growth for everyone. Business leaders are pragmatic about these new powers and want to work with both governments on the technical details to make the changes easier to manage.”

The Institute of Chartered ­Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) responded to the announcement by calling for “unprecedented levels of collaboration”.

Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “This further devolution of powers gives the Scottish Parliament a range of significant powers in important areas of law and policy.”