Scotland

Scottish Parliament revenue powers set to increase

Scottish Parliament
Image caption The measures being put forward follow the Calman Commission report on Holyrood

The Scottish Parliament's financial powers could be increased to enable it to raise about a third of its revenue, the Scottish secretary has said.

Michael Moore said the Scotland Bill, to be published in the next few weeks, would detail the potential doubling of revenue-raising power for Holyrood.

This could see control over revenue rising from 15% to up to 35% - about £10bn at current rates.

The Scottish government has called instead for full fiscal autonomy.

The proposed bill is expected to seek to implement the recommendations of the Calman Commission, which investigated how devolution could be altered 10 years after the creation of the Edinburgh parliament.

'Serious weakness'

Mr Moore said: "The Scotland Bill will be published shortly and it will be the start of the largest transfer of fiscal powers out of London since the creation of the United Kingdom.

"We are going to increase the financial power and accountability of the Scottish Parliament."

The Liberal Democrat minister said MSPs did not have enough say in how the Scottish budget was raised and determined by the UK government at Westminster.

Mr Moore added: "Next week the Scottish Parliament will start the process of deciding how to spend next year's budget. But at the moment they don't have enough say over how that budget is raised.

"That is a serious weakness that the Scotland Bill will fix.

"In the plans we are finalising, there will be the right balance between accountability and stability, with around a third of revenue raised by Holyrood and the other two-thirds from UK-controlled taxes."

The UK government's Scotland Office said estimates showed Holyrood currently controls about 15% of its own revenue. This could rise to about 35% under the package of powers the government may devolve to Edinburgh.

Calman 'fudge'

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney will unveil details of his spending plans at Holyrood on Wednesday.

Figures revealed by the Treasury in last month's Spending Review showed Scotland faced a £900m cut to next year's budget.

But a spokesman for Mr Swinney put the figure at £1.3bn, including a 25% cut to the capital budget.

He claimed Scotland had built up surpluses of £3.5bn from 2005 to 2009 while the UK had a £72bn deficit.

The spokesman added: "These figures demonstrate beyond doubt that Scotland would be far better off taking responsibility for our own financial decisions, so that we can access our own resources, grow the Scottish economy, and invest in the public services we all value.

"Instead of the Calman fudge, Scotland needs real financial responsibility and economic powers, so that we can compete with other nations on an equal basis."

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