20 Years of Devolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:20 pm on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of David Duguid David Duguid Conservative, Banff and Buchan 1:20 pm, 11th July 2019

With Ruth Davidson as First Minister, yes. Like the majority of people in Scotland, the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party supports the Union. We are invested in the devolution settlement and we want it to succeed. That is because localism is a core Conservative principle.

It is a source of endless disappointment to me and to my constituents in the north-east that the spirit of devolution, of decisions being taken closer to home, has not taken root entirely within the Scottish Government. Successive Labour and SNP Scottish Governments have hoarded power in Holyrood and, it has been suggested, governed primarily for the central belt. While English city regions are getting more control of their own affairs, to accompany growth deals, Nicola Sturgeon is ensuring that Scotland remains rigidly centralised.

Scotland’s diversity, from region to region, across the whole of Scotland, is one of the many things that makes Scotland a nation that I and my immigrant wife are proud to call home. It is tragic that the political structures that the SNP has imposed on our nation do not reflect that. When the revenue grant for local authorities in the north-east is falling by £40 million this year, even when the SNP have made Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK, with the north-east taxed more than most areas in Scotland, it is clear to see that the north-east is missing out.

My message for the Scottish Government on this anniversary is simple: it is time to work constructively with the UK Government to make the most of the existing devolution settlement, and ensure that the new powers coming to Holyrood from both Westminster and Brussels are transferred.