Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson has welcomed the proposals put forward by the Smith Commission – the cross party group chaired by Lord Smith, which was put in place by the UK Government to propose substantial new powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament following the decisive No vote in the Referendum.
Speaking from the Scottish Parliament Alex Fergusson said: “I give these proposals a wholehearted and very warm welcome. Having served on the Strathclyde Commission, which put forward the Scottish Conservative proposals for further devolution, I am delighted at Lord Smith’s proposals which bear a close resemblance to Strathclyde’s. The transfer of these substantive proposals not only fulfil the ‘vow’ made by the main Westminster party leaders before the Referendum, but it also brings a level of accountability to Scottish Parliamentarians who will now have to raise a very considerable proportion of the budget they intend to spend”.
“The full devolution of income tax, £2.5 billion worth of benefits, the power to create new ones and ‘top up’ existing UK benefits, to say nothing of Air Passenger Duty, the Crown Estate, fracking, transport and energy – all these and more will make Scotland one of the most powerful devolved nations in the world”.
“That is something I am hugely proud of and I believe it sets the scene for a constitutionally settled Scotland to address Scottish problems with Scottish solutions while remaining firmly within the UK. That was what the majority of Scots voted for in the Referendum, and that is what they are going to get. The ‘vow’ has been kept.”