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The Tumbleweed Files

Posted on March 27, 2014 by

Readers probably won’t be astonished to learn that we’ve still heard nothing from anyone in Scottish Labour in response to our six simple questions about their “Devo Nano” proposals. We’ve waited three full days now and haven’t had so much as an acknowledgement of receipt or a reply to any of our tweets, so it seems safe to say we’re not going to get one.

tumbleweed

So now it’s up to you.

Had they the courage to answer at all, doubtless Labour’s Don’t Tell Anyone The Truth Team would say that none of them are obliged to deal with enquiries from someone who isn’t one of their constituents, especially if they’re an evil separatist webste.

But tens of thousands of you are. Between Holyrood and Westminster, Labour MPs and MSPs cover almost every inch of Scotland. Nearly everyone reading this article will have either a Labour MP, a Labour MSP or both, and they ARE answerable to you.

So we’d very much appreciate if you could fire off the email below (tweak or amend it as you see fit, but please don’t be abusive) to your representative or representatives. They can’t just blank all of you – or if they do, it’ll be a scandal even the mainstream media won’t be able to ignore.

Dear [name]

I wonder if you could give me some answers to these questions about your proposals to partially devolve taxation to the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote in the independence referendum. I’ve been unable to discern the answers from the full version of the Devolution Commission’s report and would appreciate if you could clarify your position.

1. Johann Lamont told Gordon Brewer this month that Scotland would not be allowed to have a top rate of tax which was lower than the UK’s top rate. Under your proposals, would Scotland be allowed to undercut the UK on the basic rate (or the 10p rate which UK Labour is committed to introducing if elected in 2015)?

2. Ms Lamont made plain, however, that it would be possible for Scotland to have a higher top rate than the UK. Would Scotland also have the ability to increase the basic rate above the UK level, or only the higher rates?

3. If the answer to Q1 is “No”, then if Scotland ever chose to unilaterally raise the upper rate it would be impossible to ever lower it again – because the proposals only allow the upper rate to be decreased if all other rates are decreased along with it, and doing so would result in Scotland having a lower basic rate than the UK, which would be illegal.

Are the proposals deliberately intended to create a situation where irrespective of what government was elected to Holyrood in the future and what its policies/mandate were, it could only ever increase the top rates of tax, never lower them?

4. If, on the other hand, the answer to Q1 is “Yes”, lowering the top rate after a previous increase – so that it was the same as the UK’s but the basic rate was now below the UK’s – could reasonably be expected to cause damaging competition, as workers from the rest of the UK flooded into Scotland looking for jobs on which they’d have to pay lower taxes. Do your proposals contain measures to counter this problem?

5. Meanwhile, if the UK raised the top tax rate – as Ed Miliband proposes – we know from Ms Lamont’s public comments that Scotland would be forced to follow suit. But if the UK then restored it to its original level (perhaps as a result of a different government being elected), would Scotland be unable to do so for the reasons outlined in Q1, and be forced to keep an upper tax rate higher than that of the UK?

6. If the answer to Q5 is “Yes”, does that mean that a UK government could, if it chose to for any reason, deliberately engineer a situation whereby it had a permanently lower top rate of tax than Scotland, putting Scotland at a locked-in disadvantage by incentivising the wealthy to move out of Scotland to enjoy the lower top rate in the rest of the UK?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

[your name]

Below are direct email links for all the members of the Devolution Commission. Addresses for other Scottish Labour MPs and MSPs can be found here. If any of these people represent you at either Holyrood or Westminster, please take two minutes out of your day to contact them and ask these polite and entirely reasonable questions.

DEVOLUTION COMMISSION MEMBERS

Johann Lamont (MSP, Glasgow Pollok)

Anas Sarwar (MP, Glasgow Central)

Margaret Curran (MP, Glasgow East)

Sarah Boyack (MSP, Lothian)

Jackson Cullinane (Chair, Scottish Labour)

Gregg McClymont (MP, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)

Duncan McNeil (MSP, Greenock and Inverclyde)

Catherine Stihler (MEP)

Willie Young (Councillor, Aberdeen City Council)

OTHER SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT MSPs and UK PARLIAMENT MPs

They’re asking you to vote No on the basis of what powers they’ll deliver to the Scottish Parliament in return (assuming they can also persuade the people of England to elect a Labour government in 2015). A basic explanation of how those powers will or won’t work seems the absolute bare minimum you’re entitled to ask them for.

(We’d appreciate it if you could post in the comments when you’ve sent the mail, noting which MP and/or MSP you contacted. Please contact your own representative even if someone else has already done so – the more mail they get the greater the pressure – but that’ll enable us to see who has and hasn’t been covered, and assist the media with covering the story.)

.

APPENDIX – REPRESENTATIVES CONTACTED TO DATE

Douglas Alexander (MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire South)
Jackie Baillie (MSP, Dumbarton)
William Bain (MP, Glasgow North East)
Claire Baker (MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife)
Richard Baker (MSP, North East Scotland)
Gordon Banks (MP, Ochil and South Perthshire)
Jayne Baxter (MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife)
Claudia Beamish (MSP, South of Scotland)
Anne Begg (MP, Aberdeen South)
Neil Bibby (MSP, West of Scotland)
Sarah Boyack (MSP, Lothian)
Gordon Brown (MP, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)
Katy Clark (MP, North Ayrshire)
Jackson Cullinane (party chair)
Alistair Darling (MP, Edinburgh South West)
Iain Davidson (MP, Glasgow South West)
Thomas Docherty (MP, Dunfermline and West Fife)
Brian Donohoe (MP, Central Ayrshire)
Frank Doran (MP, Aberdeen North)
Gemma Doyle (MP, West Dunbartonshire)
Kezia Dugdale (MSP, Lothian)
Mary Fee (MSP, West of Scotland)
Patricia Ferguson (MSP, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn)
Neil Findlay (MSP, Lothian)
Rhoda Grant (MSP, Highlands and Islands)
Iain Gray (MSP, East Lothian)
Tom Greatrex (MP, Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Mark Griffin (MSP, Central Scotland)
Tom Harris (MP, Glasgow South)
David Hamilton (MP, Midlothian)
Hugh Henry (MSP, Renfrewshire South)
Cara Hilton (MSP, Dunfermline)
Jim Hood (MP, Lanark and Hamilton East)
Cathy Jamieson (MP, Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
James Kelly (MSP, Rutherglen)
Johann Lamont (MSP, Glasgow Pollok)
Mark Lazarowicz (MP, Edinburgh North and Leith)
Lewis Macdonald (MSP, North East Scotland)
Hanzala Malik (MSP, Glasgow)
Jenny Marra (MSP, North East Scotland)
David Martin (MEP)
Michael McCann (MP, East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)
Gregg McClymont (MP, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Margaret McCulloch (MSP, Central Scotland)
Margaret McDougal (MSP, West of Scotland)
Jim McGovern (MP, Dundee West)
Anne McGuire (MP, Stirling)
Ann McKechin (MP, Glasgow North)
Siobhan McMahon (MSP, Central Scotland)
Anne McTaggart (MSP, Glasgow)
Graeme Morrice (MP, Livingston)
Jim Murphy (MP, East Renfrewshire)
Ian Murray (MP, Edinburgh South)
Pamela Nash (MP, Airdrie and Shotts)
Fiona O’Donnell (MP, East Lothian)
Graeme Pearson (MSP, South of Scotland)
John Pentland (MSP, Motherwell and Wishaw)
John Robertson (MP, Glasgow North West)
Alex Rowley (MSP, Cowdenbeath)
Frank Roy (MP, Motherwell and Wishaw)
Lindsay Roy (MP, Glenrothes)
Anas Sarwar (MP, Glasgow Central)
Richard Simpson (MSP, Mid Scotland and Fife)
Drew Smith (MSP, Glasgow)
Elaine Smith (MSP, Coatbridge and Chryston)
David Stewart (MSP, Highlands and Islands)
Catherine Stihler (MEP)
Willie Young (Aberdeen City Council)

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    528 to “The Tumbleweed Files”

    1. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @CameronB –

      Erm, not sure. Is it a trick question?

      Is it just because they have money?

    2. CameronB says:

      Ian Brotherhood
      How the hell should I know? Let’s call Hong Kong Fuey. I understand he’s left employment with HSBC. :9

    3. memaw says:

      Ian Brotherhood
      Great stuff see you all there. Really looking forward to meeting up.

    4. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @memaw –

      Likewise. Should be a good one, and I don’t think the Wetherspoon’s ‘no music’ policy will matter one way or t’other.

    5. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Sheeeeee-eeeet!

      Sat up all this time, and after all the hubbub today, no-one posts a music vid after midnight?

      You bunch of con-trary mo-fo’s!!

    6. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I just did – on the next post. Class

    7. CameronB says:

      :9 totally O/T.

      That odd girlfriend’s aunt was the daughter of a petty Polish nobleman who had to flee westwards to escape the Bolsheviks, when she was a young girl.

      GREGORY ISAACS – LOVING PAUPER 12″ EXT. MIX MEGA
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OzlIuq47qA

    8. CameronB says:

      SHE IS/WAS GERMAN. 🙂

    9. CameronB says:

      You can’t choose who you are born as but you can decide on who you want to become.

    10. CameronB says:

      The subsequent girlfriend was also German. Perhaps I do have previously unrecognised Nazi leanings. Another indyref revelation. 😉

      I think it was something to do with their lack of comprehension of the British class system, but I had an education and I chose to use it.

      I could never have afforded skirt like that.

      No offense meant.

    11. Tamson says:

      @Cameron B:

      Orwell was a Fabian, but left them when he realised their views were ultimately incompatible with progressive socialism (they were pro-imperialism, for example). There’s a theory that the title of 1984 is a cheeky nod to the centenary of the Fabian Society, founded in 1884.

      There are also numerous conspiracy theories that the Fabians were/are a mechanism by which the Freemasons (or Jew, or Marxists or whatever) control the Labour Party.

    12. CameronB says:

      Tamson
      Really? Naw.

    13. CameronB says:

      Tamson
      Space monsters?

    14. Craig Lamb says:

      Sent to:

      Willie Young (Councillor, Aberdeen City Council)

    15. AberdeenLoon says:

      Now waiting for Willie Young’s reply

    16. AYEMAN says:

      That’s RICHARD SIMPSON/ MARK GRIFFIN/ MARGARET McCULLOCH/ SIOBHAN McMAHON e-mailed. I added an introductory paragraph asking for clarification as I had watched the Gordon Brewer interview with Johann Lamont and I’m still none the wiser
      P.S. Just had this response from Siobhan mcMahon MSP which came back to me about 4 minutes after I had e-mailed her.
      I’m still none the wiser. Suppose she was at least prompt.

      “Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

      As you may be aware, in spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a year-long public consultation, our proposals were published on 18th March.

      With regard to income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

      • Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.
      • We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.
      • This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.
      • The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.
      • Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.
      • Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

      Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

      Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

      Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

      Yours sincerely

      Siobhan McMahon MSP
      Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland”.

    17. Alistair D says:

      I have received the following reply from Siobhan McMahon, which I believe does not really correspond to Ms Lamont’s explanation regarding taxation; or am I wrong?

      Dear Mr Donaldson

      Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

      As you may be aware, in spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a year-long public consultation, our proposals were published on 18th March.

      With regard to income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

      · Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.

      · We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.

      · This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.

      · The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.

      · Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.

      · Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

      Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

      Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

      Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

      Yours sincerely

      Siobhan McMahon MSP

      Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland

    18. The Man in the Jar says:

      Rev Stu
      I emailed Jimmy Hood, Michael McMahon and Siobhan McMahon.

      Today 28/03/2014 @ 16;31 I received the following reply from Siobhan McMahon.

      Dear Mr *****

      Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

      As you may be aware, in spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a year-long public consultation, our proposals were published on 18th March.

      With regard to income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

      · Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.
      · We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.
      · This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.
      · The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.
      · Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.
      · Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

      Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

      Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

      Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

      Yours sincerely

      Siobhan McMahon MSP
      Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Scotland

    19. DaveR says:

      For data maybe being compiled, nil response from Hamzala Malik, Anne McTaggart or Drew Smith to date. Giving them a second chance to respond and see if we further confirm the standardised Lamont contradicting script in return. Or who knows, something even more bizarre. Mail follows:

      Dear Anne, Hanzala and Drew,

      Second opportunity for you to respond to my previous request below. This Labour Commission set of recommendations has been 2 years in the making and was very widely communicated across your Scottish Conference and on all media. All Labour members of either parliament should be fully conversant with it. If you are not, and I can accept the recommendations may not be every members point of focus or expertise, I suggest you refer questions to the commission members…again, and refer back to me in due course.

      You are my Labour representatives in the Scottish Parliament. I expect at the very least a response of some kind. Preferably not of the dissembling and refusal to address the questions form I received from your colleague Tom Harris MP.

      Perhaps one of you is principled enough to explain your stated, published and publicly announced policy, it is after all your job.

      Regards,

      Constituent, David Russell

    20. Awkwardboy says:

      Response from Elaine Murray:

      (cc Joanne [dot] Duffy [at] scottish [dot] parliament [dot] uk)

      Dear Mr Lockhart

      Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom. I am assuming that you are a constituent, but would be grateful if you could provide your address for our records.

      The Labour Party is the Party of devolution. Our founder, Keir Hardie, promoted Home Rule in the early 1900s, we participated in the Constitutional Convention in the 1980s and in 1999 we delivered a Scottish Parliament. In 2012, we extended these powers further when we supported the Scotland Act. And in 2016, as a result of these changes, the biggest transfer of fiscal powers since the Act of Union will take place.

      In spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a yearlong public consultation, we published our proposals on 18th March. The final report of the Commission was endorsed unanimously by Scottish Labour Party Conference on 21st March.

      Our starting principle is that we believe in a society in which resources are pooled and shared across the whole country, and in which those with the broadest shoulders and greatest resources contribute most to the support of those in need.

      Our report is wide-ranging and includes a number of recommendations, including:

      · Further devolution of income tax, discussed in more detail below.

      · Devolution of housing benefit and attendance allowance, to align more closely the provision of benefits in an area closely related to devolved services.

      · Devolution of the work programme to Scottish local authorities to better meet the needs of local labour markets.

      The report of the commission is extensive and also includes proposals to increase the powers available to our island communities, to improve local democratic accountability and to establish better enforcement mechanisms for health and safety in Scotland, including the establishment of a Scottish Health and Safety executive.

      On income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

      · Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.

      · We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.

      · This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.

      · The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.

      · Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.

      · Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

      Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

      Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

      Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

      Yours sincerely,

      Elaine Murray

      MSP for Dumfriesshire

      Shadow Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs

      Constituency Office 01387 279205: Parliamentary Office 0131 348 5826

      Mobile 07919392049

      Twitter @elainekmurray

    21. William Mcallister says:

      Gregg Mcclymont contacted

    22. Peter Mirtitsch says:

      Still not received a reply from Katy Clark, even after a wee reminder was sent…

    23. Fiona says:

      Nothing from Ann McKechin either, beyond a standard acknowledgement

    24. You and My Comb says:

      Reply this morning from Ms Baillie

      Thank you for your interest in Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

      The Labour Party is the Party of devolution. Our founder, Keir Hardie, promoted Home Rule in the early 1900s, we participated in the Constitutional Convention in the 1980s and in 1999 we delivered a Scottish Parliament. In 2012, we extended these powers further when we supported the Scotland Act. And in 2016, as a result of these changes, the biggest transfer of fiscal powers since the Act of Union will take place.

      In spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a yearlong public consultation, we published our proposals on 18th March. The final report of the Commission was endorsed unanimously by Scottish Labour Party Conference on 21st March.

      Our starting principle is that we believe in a society in which resources are pooled and shared across the whole country, and in which those with the broadest shoulders and greatest resources contribute most to the support of those in need.

      Our report is wide-ranging and includes a number of recommendations, including:

      · Further devolution of income tax, discussed in more detail below.

      · Devolution of housing benefit and attendance allowance, to align more closely the provision of benefits in an area closely related to devolved services.

      · Devolution of the work programme to Scottish local authorities to better meet the needs of local labour markets.

      The report of the commission is extensive and also includes proposals to increase the powers available to our island communities, to improve local democratic accountability and to establish better enforcement mechanisms for health and safety in Scotland, including the establishment of a Scottish Health and Safety executive.

      On income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

      · Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.

      · We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.

      · This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.

      · The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.

      · Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.

      · Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

      Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

      Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

      Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

    25. Cosby says:

      Got this reply from Douglas Alexander’s office:

      Thank you for your email to Douglas – I return initially on his behalf.

      Douglas has indicated his position clearly in speeches and press statements which have been reported through the media and can be found on the internet readily.
      He also fully supports Ms Lamont and the proposals laid out.

      The further questions you list, seem to sway towards an unanswerable series of hypothesis and YES suggestion after several ‘ifs’.

      Please be assured however your email will be brought to Douglas’ attention and if he wishes to add further he will return to you personally.

      Kind regards

      Lorraine McFarlane

      Constituency Office Manager, on behalf of
      Douglas Alexander MP | Paisley and Renfrewshire South

    26. Alistair Donaldson says:

      Surprisingly, have received a reply from Jackie Baillie – I wrote to her on my father’s behalf, who is one of her constituents. Unsurprisingly, exactly the same party line, but with the Keir Hardy lead-in…………….

    27. Dinnatouch says:

      Finally received a reply from Frank Roy … and yes, it’s exactly the same as the other replies that have been received. C&Ping just for completeness sake:

      Dear Mr ,

      Thank you for your email on Labour’s proposals to further extend and enhance devolution for Scotland within the United Kingdom.

      The Labour Party is the Party of devolution. Our founder, Keir Hardie, promoted Home Rule in the early 1900s, we participated in the Constitutional Convention in the 1980s and in 1999 we delivered a Scottish Parliament. In 2012, we extended these powers further when we supported the Scotland Act. And in 2016, as a result of these changes, the biggest transfer of fiscal powers since the Act of Union will take place.

      In spring 2012, Johann Lamont established a Devolution Commission to examine what could be done to strengthen devolution further. Following two years of deliberations and a yearlong public consultation, we published our proposals on 18th March. The final report of the Commission was endorsed unanimously by Scottish Labour Party Conference on 21st March.

      Our starting principle is that we believe in a society in which resources are pooled and shared across the whole country, and in which those with the broadest shoulders and greatest resources contribute most to the support of those in need.

      Our report is wide-ranging and includes a number of recommendations, including:

      · Further devolution of income tax, discussed in more detail below.

      · Devolution of housing benefit and attendance allowance, to align more closely the provision of benefits in an area closely related to devolved services.

      · Devolution of the work programme to Scottish local authorities to better meet the needs of local labour markets.

      The report of the commission is extensive and also includes proposals to increase the powers available to our island communities, to improve local democratic accountability and to establish better enforcement mechanisms for health and safety in Scotland, including the establishment of a Scottish Health and Safety executive.

      On income tax, we believe that the changes made by the Scotland Act 2012 are significant, but there is scope to go further.

      · Labour would therefore give the Scottish Parliament the power to raise around £2 billion more in revenues beyond the recent Scotland Act.

      · We will do this by widening the variation in income tax in the Scotland Act by half from 10p up to 15p.

      · This will mean that three-quarters of basic rate income tax in Scotland will be under the control of the Scottish Parliament.

      · The Scottish Parliament could, using the powers of the Scotland Act 2012, and our extension to their scope, choose to lower income tax, below the UK level, across all income tax bands.

      · Equally, it would be possible to use the same power to increase tax, above the UK level, across all bands.

      · Alternatively, if the Scottish Parliament wished to exercise greater flexibility between bands, Labour’s proposals mean that it would be empowered to do so by applying Scottish Progressive Rates of Income Tax to increase either the higher or additional rates of tax.

      Labour’s proposals for further tax powers are designed to enhance fiscal accountability and flexibility at a Scottish level, while preventing destructive income tax competition between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

      Labour’s policy is that fair taxation for the highest earners would be achieved by setting the additional rate at 50p.

      Thank you for your interest in the final report of our devolution commission. If you require any more detail on our income tax policy, this can be found on page 148 – 151 of the report. If you wish to read the full report, it can be found on the Scottish Labour website at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/campaigns/entry/devolution-commission

      Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

      Yours sincerely,

      Frank

    28. Jist me says:

      Got a reply from Jackie Baillie: exact same as posted above. Standard reply, then. Still to hear from Gemma Doyle.



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