The UK Government hopes that today’s command paper, detailing which watered-down parts of the watered-down Smith Commission recommendations might actually make it into law, will draw a line under constitutional change – it won’t. A devo-light solution that sits half way between what the Scottish people want and what the Scottish economy needs is nothing more than a constitutional fudge – the worst of both worlds.
Business for Scotland’s key goal has always been to ensure that the Scottish Government had the powers necessary to grow our economy and to create a new national prosperity that was shared more equally. The driving force behind that goal was always the realisation that the economic policies that work for London and the South East don’t necessarily work for the other regions of the UK and, in particular, Scotland.
Regardless of the powers our Parliament has, we have to try to create a more prosperous, successful, confident, greener, more equal and fairer Scotland. The more powers over economic, business and taxation policy the Scottish Government has, the more quickly we will be able to grow our economy and improve business productivity. Although we welcome the progress on issues that we championed, such as votes in the next Scottish parliamentary elections for 16 and 17 year olds and the transfer of APD, we feel that corporation tax is a major omission especially when you take into account that Northern Ireland has the power devolved. And contributions from the Scottish VAT income is not the same as control over VAT rates which could be used to boost Scotland tourism industry.