Scotland Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:56 pm on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson Labour, Glasgow North West 3:56 pm, 27th January 2011

My hon. Friend makes my point. That is why the amendment was a mistake, and I think that the Scottish nationalists did not really mean to go down that road. If they put that in deliberately, I am wrong and will admit as much. We have to fight them on that point.

Another aspect of the Bill that needs amendment is the provisions on energy. It is a reserved matter, but if we wished to build a nuclear power station in Scotland, the present Administration say that they would use the planning rules to stop it. By the middle of this decade, we might be short of electricity, so we have to make decisions now. In fact, we should have decided years ago-my party must take much of the responsibility for failing to do so-what we should do in relation to energy, and we cannot have a devolved Administration with the power to stop developments that are happening everywhere else. Each power station that is built is the result of billions of pounds of investment in jobs and future jobs after the station has been built. Some 9,000 jobs are created when a new nuclear power station is built. We should consider having legislation to make such planning issues a reserved matter, with the Secretary of State having the power to put forward reasons why such issues should go ahead.