Re­port is a hit and miss

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

Ruther­glen SNP have branded the find­ings of the Smith Com­mis­sion as be­ing like a promis­ing movie trailer which has been fol­lowed by a lack­lus­tre fea­ture.

The group said this week they were “dis­ap­pointed” and “un­der­whelmed” by the re­port, which came out last week.

James Kelly MSP, how­ever, praised the com­mis­sion, and said it was time for politi­cians to “roll their sleeves up,” and tackle in­equal­ity.

The Smith Com­mis­sion was set up in the af­ter­math of the ref­er­en­dum to come up with a pack­age of new pow­ers for the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

Its find­ings, which were pub­lished last week, in­clude de­volv­ing the power to set in­come tax band rates and Air Pas­sen­ger Duty.

Other key rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude al­low­ing Holy­rood to ex­tend the vot­ing fran­chise to 16- and 17-year-olds, hand­ing pow­ers to cre­ate new ben­e­fits in de­volved ar­eas and giv­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment a “for­mal con­sul­ta­tive role” in re­view­ing the BBC char­ter.

The find­ings will form the ba­sis of leg­is­la­tion on more Scot­tish pow­ers.

But Ruther­glen Cen­tral and North coun­cil­lor, Gor­don Clark, said he and fel­low SNP mem­bers were dis­ap­pointed with the of­fer, say­ing none of the po­ten­tial new pow­ers would help a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment stim­u­late the econ­omy.

He said: “In many ways the build up to the re­lease of this doc­u­ment was like wait­ing on the re­lease of a new movie. The trailer looks good but when you see the full length fea­ture you are left won­der­ing what all the fuss was about.

“We have learned over last week­end that a lot of in­ter­est­ing stuff was left on the cut­ting room floor at the be­hest of the West­min­ster par­ties who de­cided that while Scots could have a say on road signs, we could have no say on Univer­sal Credit.

“While any new pow­ers are wel­come the re­port in no way re­flects the prom­ises that were made by the union­ist par­ties pre­ref­er­en­dum.

“It re­mains to be seen how things de­velop as th­ese rec­om­men­da­tions pass through both Par­lia­ment and the Lords but I sus­pect that even more will be chipped away be­fore any new bill is given as­sent.”

How­ever, Ruther­glen’s Labour MSP, James Kelly wel­comed the re­port, say­ing the new pow­ers would make Holy­rood a “pow­er­house par­lia­ment,” and that Scot­land would be in con­trol of 60 per cent of its spend­ing.

He added: “The ques­tion now is how do we use th­ese pow­ers? I want to see cuts to in­equal­ity, not pub­lic ser­vices. I want to use th­ese new pow­ers to pur­sue a rad­i­cal agenda which will build a fairer coun­try and grow our econ­omy.

“The prom­ise of more pow­ers has been de­liv­ered. It is now time for politi­cians to roll up their sleeves and talk about what we’ll ac­tu­ally do to make this coun­try health­ier, wealth­ier and hap­pier.”

Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lor, Robert Brown, said the find­ings of the Smith Com­mis­sion amounted to “home rule” within the UK.

He added: “The new pow­ers will en­able Scot­land’s gov­ern­ment, what­ever its po­lit­i­cal com­plex­ion, to pur­sue and be ac­count­able for, its own vi­sion and poli­cies – on em­ploy­ment, on many as­pects of so­cial se­cu­rity and on the levers that support its cur­rent pow­ers.

“The era of snip­ing at West­min­ster will come to an end.”

Labour James Kelly MSP

Lib­eral Demo­crat

Coun­cil­lor Robert Brown

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