20 Years of Devolution

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:26 pm on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Hugh Gaffney Hugh Gaffney Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 2:26 pm, 11th July 2019

I will not; the hon. Gentleman cost me two minutes earlier on.

Over 70,000 Scottish workers find themselves with exploitative zero-hours contracts. There is a housing crisis, and those in the private rented sector find themselves facing rip-off rents. Nearly a quarter of all children in Scotland are living in poverty, and one in 10 Scots is living in food poverty. That is the Scotland that we live in today.

It could not be clearer that we need to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to deliver real change for the people of Scotland. We could be using the new tax powers to introduce a 50p top rate of tax to raise revenue for our public services. We could be using new welfare powers to end the two-child limit and top up child benefit by £5 a week. We could be using the Parliament’s existing powers to extend free bus travel to those under 25, cap rents and end exploitative zero-hours contracts. That is what Scottish Labour would seek to do, because we recognise the potential of devolution to deliver for the many, not the few.

John Smith was right to say that the creation of a Scottish Parliament was

“the settled will of the Scottish people”.

Most Scots do not want independence, nor do they support a Tory Government attacking devolution. They want to see a powerful Scottish Parliament, but crucially they want a Scottish Government who are prepared to use those powers to tackle poverty, invest in public services and deliver a fairer society. Twenty years on, it is clear that Labour is the only party to settle the will of the Scottish people.