Law Society welcomes draft bill on transfer of powers

Following yesterday’s publication by the UK government of a draft bill for the transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “We welcome the publication of the draft clauses and are pleased to see that they take into account the Smith Commission recommendations.

“This further devolution of powers gives the Scottish parliament a range of significant powers in important areas of law and policy.”

On the further devolution of tax powers, Mr Morris said: “It appears that the recommendations in the Smith Report have been incorporated, with rates of income tax and the thresholds at which they are paid being devolved, along with Air Passenger Duty and the Aggregates Levy.

Tax law is a complex and difficult area. We will need to study the clauses closely to ensure that they will work in practice.”

On welfare, Mr Morris said : “Welfare law is also a very complex area, and the draft clauses will need significant scrutiny before the eventual Bill is introduced into Parliament.”

On the constitutional clauses, Mr Morris said: “The recognition in these draft clauses that the Scottish parliament and the Scottish government are to become permanent aspects of the UK constitution is a fulfilment in legal terms of the Smith recommendations.

These proposed changes to the Scotland Act 1998 put into law the political intention of the parties who contributed to the Smith Commission process.

“The Society will now scrutinise the paper fully and where appropriate will make suggestions for the improvement of the draft clauses.”

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