The leaders of the three largest Westminster parties have all committed to introducing legislation to enact the Smith Commission's Report in the next parliament. However, what would these changes mean in practice? Paul Cairney and Emily St.Denny of Stirling University discuss the implications for future policy with Craig McAngus.
Great play was made of the devolution of aspects of UK welfare provision to the Scottish Parliament as part of the Smith process. However, explains David Bell, this may not be as simple or as significant as its proponents suggest.
The Scotland Office has released a command paper, Scotland in the United Kingdom: an enduring settlement. It contains the draft clauses for legislation to enact the commitments made in the Smith Commission’s report. It was being reported last November that the Cabinet had vetoed a range of proposals made by the Smith Commission:
And so it has arrived: draft legislation on further powers for the Scottish Parliament, published before Burns Night, in accordance with the timetable set out in the wake of “The Vow”.
There appear to be two clear faultlines emerging. The first, which has the most resonance in Scotland, is over the issue of whether powers devolved over welfare are to be fully within the remit of the Scottish Government’s powers or whether the UK Government will retain some influence in this sphere.
The draft legislation published in response to the report of the Smith Commission makes much of the concept of 'no detriment' - that the actions of one government should not harm another. However, explains CCC Director Michael Keating, that is considerably easier said than done.