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This Briefing Note has been prepared for the Second Reading of the Scotland Bill 2015-16, which will take place on 8 June 2015.

The Bill is the latest stage in giving effect to the ‘Vow’ – the cross-party commitments regarding further devolution to Scotland, made in the run-up to the referendum on independence on 18 September 2014. The report of the Smith Commission, published on 27 November 2014, set out the details of cross-party ‘heads of agreement’ on the implementation of devolution of further powers to the Scottish Parliament. Draft clauses, which would have given effect to many (though not all) of the Smith Commission’s proposals, were published in January 2015 in the Command paper Scotland in the United Kingdom: an enduring settlement (Cm 8990).

This Bill would, if enacted, state that a Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are recognised as permanent. It would devolve power to set the rates and bands of income tax on non-savings and non-dividend income. Receipts from these Scottish rates of income tax will be assigned to the Scottish Government’s budget. The Bill also provides for a share of VAT receipts in Scotland to be assigned to the Scottish Government’s budget. The Bill would devolve Air Passenger Duty and Aggregates Levy; powers over certain aspects of welfare and housing-related benefits; powers over speed limits and road signs, and rail franchising; control of the functions of the British Transport Police, Ofcom and the Crown Estate relating to Scotland; and control of the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system, subject to a two-thirds majority within the Parliament for any proposed change.

Commons Library Briefing Papers

CBP 7233, Scotland Bill 2015-16: Committee stage report, 22 June 2015

CBP 7207, Scotland Bill: Welfare & Employment Support (Bill 3 of 2015-16), 4 June 2015

CBP 7077, Devolution of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament: recent developments, 11 June 2015

SN 7090, Draft Scotland Clauses: summary, 28 January 2015

See also the Bill pages on the Parliamentary website.

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