Cameron says it will become one of the world’s “most powerful devolved parliaments”
David Cameron is today meeting with Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, in Scotland.
And the draft of the new Scotland Bill will be published later today (Thursday).
Cameron has said the Scottish Parliament will become “one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world” once the bill is brought in.
It will be an historic piece of legislation that significantly changes the political shape of the UK and the influence that Scotland and England can exert over one another.
The intention of the bill is to devolve more powers to Scotland, as promised by Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the run-up to the referendum.
So what could the new UK look like?
The new UK
In essence, the Scotland Bill will give Holyrood more tax and spending powers.
It could well be that MSPs will have the power to control income tax rates and thresholds.
Chancellor George Osborne said on Tuesday that new tax powers given to Scotland could create “tax competition” within the UK.
It’s also being reported that Cameron will announce today that the Scottish Parliament will be given the right to decide how 60% of public money allocated to Scotland is spent.
Holyrood will also reportedly be given free reign over hospitals, police stations and schools in Scotland.
Scottish MPs could start voting on English matters
The bill might also affect how Scottish and English MPs vote on each other’s legislation.
At the moment, the six SNP MPs abstain from voting in the Houses of Commons on non-Scottish matters.
This isn’t because they are prevented by law, though – they just do it in practise.
But Sturgeon has suggested that SNP MPs might start voting on some non-Scottish issues, specifically talking about the NHS.
She told the BBC yesterday that if there were moves to “further privatise” the NHS, her MPs would vote to prevent this, to help protect Scotland’s share of the NHS budget.
She said: “On health, for example, we are signalling that we would be prepared to vote on matters of English health because that has a direct impact potential on Scotland’s budget.”
The Tories, as we know, want to enshrine the idea of “English votes for English laws” in legislation.
Labour isn’t quite so keen, understandably, as the party has a much greater presence in Scotland, with 40 Scottish MPs.
If none of them were permitted to vote on English matters, Labour’s voting clout at Westminster would be significantly dented.