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SNP must utilise transfer of powers to Scotland

March 29, 2012 3:07 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP challenged the First Minister to disclose what made the Scottish Government change their minds over supporting the Scotland Bill.

Willie Rennie MSPWillie Rennie MSPDuring First Minister's questions, Mr Rennie asked why the Scottish Government now supported the bill having previously been so critical of it, and what the Scottish Government was going to do to ensure that Scotland benefitted from the new measures.

Commenting afterwards Mr Rennie said:

"The First Minister's Government previously described proposals in the Scotland Bill as a "dog's breakfast", "a poison pill" and "dangerous". He had six red lines but last week reneged on them all.

"People deserve to know what has turned the First Minister around on the Scotland Bill and how he plans to use these new powers.

"The Scotland Bill is a major step forward. Stamp duty is going to be devolved to Scotland. It comes into force in 2015. The SNP must make it clear what they are doing in preparation for this. We need to know what capital projects will benefit from the new borrowing powers which would help stimulate the economy and create jobs in Scotland.

"The First Minister is fond of talking up "shovel ready" projects he has waiting but he couldn't tell us which will benefit first from the new economic levers at his disposal. Instead all we got from the First Minister was more bluster and petty name calling.

"The Scotland Bill is the biggest transfer of powers in 300 years to Scotland but the SNP are woefully silent on what they are going to do with this new opportunity.

"By saying that the debate has moved on because of the referendum is just not good enough. These powers are about to go live. The SNP must face up to their responsibility and utilise this transfer of powers to Scotland."