Commenting on the publication of the Smith Commission report on further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament Maryhill & Springburn MSP Patricia Ferguson said:
“For me, the publication of the Smith Commission report was a promise kept. During the referendum campaign, Scottish Labour promised that following a No vote, the Scottish Parliament would be made permanent and provided with extensive new powers, especially over Tax and Welfare.
“Ten members were appointed to a Commission chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin to detail what those powers should be. Apart from those from the political parties, some 17,000 submissions were considered. Last Thursday the Commission unveiled their report at the Museum in Edinburgh.
“The powers proposed will transform the Scottish Parliament, making it one of the most powerful devolved legislatures anywhere in the world, even in some federal countries.
“Holyrood will set all rates and bands for personal Income Tax, control the programmes which get unemployed people into jobs, and take responsibility for £2.5 billion worth of welfare benefits.
“The social union of Pensions, Social Security and Child Benefit which Scots supported when they voted No to independence will remain, but the Scottish Government will be able to create new benefits, a Scottish Welfare System built on those foundations. Scots will be guaranteed the support they need when they are elderly, unemployed or raising a family, but the Scottish Government will be able to make tax fairer, the work programme more effective, and people living with disability or long term illness treated with greater respect and dignity.
“Tax and Welfare was the core of the report, but it includes many other powers too, not least control over the licencing of controversial “Fracking” for gas to come to Scotland too.
“MSPs will face greater responsibility, more accountability for raising public funds, and difficult decisions. That is exactly how it should be. Frankly any politician who looks at this package of powers and is not excited by what it will allow our Parliament to do should ask themselves if they are in the right job.”