On Thursday 27th the Smith Commissions proposals, which were agreed by Scotland’s five political parties, were announced and welcomed by Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray and Dumfries & Galloway MP Russell Brown.
This agreement will give Scotland control over tax, welfare and jobs:
• Tax: The income tax we pay will be set in Scotland.
• Welfare: benefits that support the disabled and a wide range of other benefits like Winter Fuel Payments will be determined by the Scottish Parliament
• Jobs: The Scottish Government will have more power to create jobs here in Scotland with the Work Programme being devolved and a greater ability to borrow to boost capital projects.
The proposals have been announced ahead of the end of November deadline.
Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray said:
“Today is a great day for all people who voted for change in the Independence Referendum. A promise was made to deliver faster, safer and better change for Scotland and that promise has been kept.
“This is the biggest transfer of powers ever devolved and will give Scotland a Powerhouse Parliament with control over tax, welfare and jobs to sit alongside health, education, transport and justice.
“However, we have to make sure these new powers work for the people of Dumfries & Galloway. That means proper accountability to local people on local issues and an increase in powers for local authorities.”
Dumfries & Galloway MP Russell Brown added:
“People wanted more decisions taken closer to home and that is what is being delivered. Scotland’s five political parties; Labour, the SNP, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems and the Greens have all agreed on these proposals because they are in the best interest of the people of Scotland.
“It is now time for us to decide on how these powers can be used to better the lives of people in our region and beyond. That doesn’t mean that power should simply transfer from one parliament to another without a single difference being made to people’s lives in Dumfries & Galloway. It can no longer be business as usual.”