Scottish Labour Unveil Devolution Plans

Scotland should control two-fifths of its own revenues with the power to raise taxes on the rich, according to Labour.

The party has unveiled the long-awaited findings of its Devolution Commission in Edinburgh. 

The Scottish Parliament should raise around 40% of its own revenues, around £2 billion more than the most recent Scotland Act. 

The Scotland Act will give Holyrood control over more tax raising powers in exchange for a 10p in the pound cut in the block grant, but Labour believes this should be extended to 15p - giving Scotland control of three quarters of the basic rate of income tax. 

Holyrood should also have the powers to increase the higher rates of income tax, giving it the ability to tax richer citizens more, it said.

However, there will be safeguards to prevent Scotland launching a tax competition with Westminster by cutting top rates. 

Top rates may only be cut if all rates are cut, Labour leader Johann Lamont said. 

Labour proposes to make the Scottish Parliament indissoluble by Westminster, with control over the administration of its own elections. 

The Barnett Formula, which is currently used to calculate Scotland's share of the UK block grant, should remain the funding mechanism for public services but it should be adjusted to take account of Scotland's new tax raising powers. 

Welfare and skills should be devolved to local authorities, with Holyrood providing ``strategic oversight'', housing benefit should be devolved to permit MSPs to abolish ``the bedroom tax'', and the power of the islands should be extended. 

Scotland should have its own Health and Safety Executive, employment tribunals, equalities legislation and consumer advocacy. 

And it suggests that Holyrood should have wider powers over the railways in order to create a ``not for profit'' service.