Committee (3rd Day) (Continued)
Lord Maxton (Labour)
That is very much so and it was quite interesting, as I listened to the debate earlier on taxation, that the Scottish Government, led by Alex Salmond over the past-what is it now?-three or four years, have not allowed local authorities to increase their council tax. They have put a cap on it, so they have in fact restrained taxation at a local level. My noble friend is quite right. They have actually reduced the democratic rights and responsibilities of local government, whereas what ought to have been the next step was to say, "We have devolved power to a Scottish Parliament for democratic reasons. We now need to devolve further down, to give more democracy to our local communities and our people to take the decisions at their level that need to be taken at that level". That to me is what devolution is about. It is not about independence; it is not actually about nationalism or nationality at all. In fact, nationalism has been the bugbear of devolution, not the natural progression of it. Therefore I support my noble friend's amendment, which would put "devolved" into this Bill.