Draft legislation on further devolution for Scotland

23 January 2015

The UK Government has published a command paper with draft clauses on further devolution for Scotland.

In September 2014, the people of Scotland voted to remain part of a United Kingdom with a united future and the Prime Minister invited Lord Smith of Kelvin to oversee and deliver cross-party agreement on the shape of improved and enhanced devolution for Scotland.

On 27 November 2014 Lord Smith delivered an agreement reached unanimously between all five main Scottish political parties on more powers for the Scottish Parliament. This is the first time all five have participated in a devolution process.

The draft clauses published in this command paper are the next stage in delivering that commitment and this draft legislation shows how the measures included in the Agreement would look in law.

There isn’t enough time before the next UK General election for this Government to take a new Scotland Bill through Parliament. However producing these draft clauses now means that whoever forms a government after the election in May 2015 will be able to turn them into law at the earliest possible opportunity.

The leaders of the three main UK-wide political parties, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband, have all promised to take forward a Scotland Bill in the next Parliament.

CIPP comment

As mentioned in a recent news item – Scotland Act 2012, the CIPP Policy Team is part of the Stakeholder Group. We will continue to look at the technical aspects of the implementation of the Scottish Rate of Income Tax, particularly in light of the draft clauses which state that the Scottish Parliament will be given powers to introduce new rates and bands of income tax above the UK personal allowance.

HMRC has assured us that, working with HMT, they fully intend to consult with the business and representative community on the detail of legislating and implementing the tax powers within the Command Paper.

The next Stakeholder Group meeting is due to be held in February and the Policy Team will naturally be dissecting the command paper ahead of this meeting and will report thereafter on any detail payroll professionals and employers will need to be aware of.

HMG has published a message to stakeholders about the publication of the Command Paper and can be accessed through the link below.

HMG Scotland in the UK an enduring settlement