Written by Luna Webster
Westminster has today published its plan for the new Scottish Parliament powers following promises made during last year’s independence referendum.
In November, the Smith Commission investigated the needs of the Scottish Parliament and released a paper with their recommendations. They said that Scotland should have control over certain aspects of taxation, in particular, income tax. It was also suggested that the Scottish Parliament should have power over elements of their welfare state, fracking licenses, and additionally be able to lower the voting age for Holyrood elections to 16. It looks like these powers are well on course to begin after the general election.
David Cameron said that he was helping to make Holyrood “one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world” and also spoke of Westminster’s promise to have these plans outlined by Burns Night, pointing out that the report is a few days early. Nicola Sturgeon criticised parts of the plan but said “it does represent some progress”. Her main issue was that the proposed plan meant that Scotland could only scrap bedroom tax with UK government consent.
The lowering of the voting age at Holyrood elections to 16 is a great indicator of progress however and is helping to develop a direct link between young people and politics.