Clause 24 — Taxation: introductory
Fiona O'Donnell (East Lothian, Labour)
You may not have been present the last time I spoke on the Scotland Bill, Mr Walker, but it was my birthday. Every time I speak about the Scotland Bill, it feels like my birthday.
In contrast to the amendments tabled by Stewart Hosie, the Bill offers real progress for Scotland and a recognition of all that has been achieved at Holyrood. At the same time, it offers the stability of remaining as part of the Union, which protects Scotland against some risks. The hon. Gentleman seemed to be disappointed by what he called the politics in the report of the Scottish Parliament’s Scotland Bill Committee. Perhaps, however, we should look at the history of how we have come to this point.
We had the Scottish constitutional convention and the Calman commission, both of which the hon. Gentleman’s party declined to be part of. Those things stand in sharp contrast to the SNP’s own record, because the national conversation, which my hon. Friend Ann McKechin spoke about at some length, has delivered nothing for the people of Scotland or the Scottish Parliament. That contrasts with what is on offer before the Committee today. Of course there is detail in the Bill that we need the Government to iron out, but even the Bill Committee in the Scottish Parliament—I believe it is the first time that a Committee of that type has been established, to give the Bill the scrutiny that it deserves and merits—has acknowledged that there is time to work on some of the details.
We could fair see how all puffed up with pride the hon. Gentleman was about all the amendments that he had brought before us, but I have to say that I found his arguments unconvincing. The SNP had all the time that Calman was discussing a way forward to come up with some detailed proposals, and it had some weeks of the Scotland Bill Committee’s work in Holyrood, yet what do we see? A single piece of paper containing its proposals for lasting change and progress in Scotland. I am afraid that is the sum total of its contribution.