15 June 2009

Those Calman Commission headlines in full...

Morning has broken, and Calman has come. Being the helpful soul that I am, below is collated all of the recommendations as presented in the Executive Summary of the Commission's final report. The numbering was thematically organised, so one can find oneself leaping about a bit in terms of the recommendation one is at. I've made no effort to adjust this. Peruse at your leisure...

The Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament should confirm that each agrees to the elements of the common social rights that make up the social Union and also the responsibilities that go with them.

RECOMMENDATION 3.1: Part of the Budget of the Scottish Parliament should now be found from devolved taxation under its control rather than from grant from the UK Parliament. The main means of achieving this should be by the UK and Scottish Parliaments sharing the yield of income tax.

a. Therefore the Scottish Variable Rate of income tax should be replaced by a new Scottish rate of income tax, collected by HMRC, which should apply to the basic and higher rates of income tax.

b. To make this possible, the basic and higher rates of income tax levied by the UK Government in Scotland should be reduced by 10 pence in the pound and the block grant from the UK to the Scottish Parliament should be reduced accordingly.

c. Income tax on savings and distributions should not be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but half of the yield should be assigned to the Scottish Parliament’s Budget, with a corresponding reduction in the block grant.

d. The structure of the income tax system, including the bands, allowances and thresholds should remain entirely the responsibility of the UK Parliament. RECOMMENDATION 3.2: Stamp Duty Land Tax, Aggregates Levy, Landfill Tax and Air Passenger Duty should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, again with a corresponding reduction in the block grant.

RECOMMENDATION 3.2: Stamp Duty Land Tax, Aggregates Levy, Landfill Tax and Air Passenger Duty should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, again with a corresponding reduction in the block grant.

RECOMMENDATION 3.3: The Scottish Parliament should be given a power to legislate with the agreement of the UK Parliament to introduce specified new taxes that apply across Scotland. The new procedure we are recommending in Part 4 of our Report for the Scottish Parliament to legislate on reserved issues with the agreement of the UK Parliament could be used for this.

RECOMMENDATION 3.4: The block grant, as the means of financing most associated with equity, should continue to make up the remainder of the Scottish Parliament’s Budget but it should be justified by need. Until such times as a proper assessment of relative spending need across the UK is carried out, the Barnett formula, should continue to be used as the basis for calculating the proportionately reduced block grant.

RECOMMENDATION 3.5: This system will require a strengthening of the inter-governmental arrangements to deal with finance.

a. The present Finance Minsters’ Quadrilateral Meeting should become a Joint Ministerial Committee on Finance (JMC(F)), and should meet regularly on a transparent basis to discuss not just spending but taxation and macroeconomic policy issues.

b. HMRC should advise Scottish Ministers in relation to those devolved taxes it is tasked with collecting and their responsibilities in relation to income tax and should account to them for the operation of these Scottish taxes. Scottish Ministers should be consulted on the appointment of the Commissioners of HMRC.

c. All the relevant spending or grant calculations done by HMRC and HM Treasury should be audited by National Audit Office (NAO) which should publish an annual report on the operation of the funding arrangements, including reporting to the new JMC(F) and to the Scottish Parliament.

RECOMMENDATION 3.6: These changes should be introduced in a phased way, step by step, to manage the risks of instability in public finances and of windfall gains or adverse shocks to the Scottish Budget.

RECOMMENDATION 3.7: The Scottish Ministers should be given additional borrowing powers.

a. The existing power for Scottish Ministers to borrow for short term purposes should be used to manage cash flow when devolved taxes are used. Consideration should be given to using the power in the Scotland Act to increase the limit on it if need be.

b. Scottish Ministers should be given an additional power to borrow to increase capital investment in any one year. There should be an overall limit to such borrowing, similar to the Prudential regime for local authorities. The amount allowed should take account of capacity to repay debt based on future tax and other receipts. Borrowing should be from the National Loans Fund or Public Works Loans Board.

RECOMMENDATION 4.1: In all circumstances there should be mutual respect between the Parliaments and the Governments, and this should be the guiding principle in their relations.

RECOMMENDATION 4.2: As a demonstration of respect for the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, the UK Parliament should strengthen the Sewel Convention by entrenching it in the standing orders of each House.

RECOMMENDATION 4.3: The UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament should have mechanisms to communicate with each other:

a. There should be detailed communication about legislative consent motions (LCMs), and in particular if a Bill subject to an LCM is amended such that it is outside the scope of the LCM.

b. A mechanism should exist for each Parliament to submit views to the other, perhaps by passing a motion where appropriate.

RECOMMENDATION 4.4: The UK Parliament should end its self-denying ordinance of not debating devolved matters as they affect Scotland, and the House of Commons should establish a regular “state of Scotland” debate.

RECOMMENDATION 4.5: A standing joint liaison committee of the UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament should be established to oversee relations and to consider the establishment of subject specific ad hoc joint committees.

RECOMMENDATION 4.6: Committees of the UK and Scottish Parliaments should be able to work together and any barriers to this should be removed.

a. Any barriers to the invitation of members of committees of one Parliament joining a meeting of a committee of the other Parliament in a non-voting capacity in specified circumstances should be removed.

b. Any barriers to committees in either Parliament being able to share information, or hold joint evidence sessions, on areas of mutual interest, should be removed.

c. Mechanisms should be developed for committees of each Parliament to share between them evidence submitted to related inquiries.

RECOMMENDATION 4.7: To champion and recognise the importance of interaction between the Parliaments and Governments:

a. UK and Scottish Government Ministers should commit to respond positively to requests to appear before committees of the others’ Parliament.

b. The UK Government Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Scotland (currently the Secretary of State for Scotland) should be invited to appear annually before a Scottish Parliament committee comprised of all committee conveners, and the First Minister should be invited to appear annually before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee.

RECOMMENDATION 4.8: Shortly after the Queen’s Speech the Secretary of State for Scotland (or appropriate UK Government Cabinet Minister), should be invited to appear before the Scottish Parliament to discuss the legislative programme and respond to questions in a subsequent debate. Similarly, after the Scottish Government’s legislative programme is announced the First Minister should be invited to appear before the Scottish Affairs Committee to outline how Scottish Government legislation interacts with reserved matters.

RECOMMENDATION 4.9: Where legislation interacts with both reserved and devolved matters there should be continued cooperation:

a. For any UK Parliament Bill which engages the Sewel Convention on a matter of substance, consideration should be given to including one or more Scottish MPs on the Public Bill Committee, who should then be invited, as appropriate, to meet the Scottish Parliament committee scrutinising the legislative consent memorandum.

b. A Scottish Minister should as appropriate be asked to give evidence to the UK Parliament committee examining Orders made under the Scotland Act.

RECOMMENDATION 4.10: Either the Scottish Parliament or either House of the UK Parliament should be able, when it has considered an issue where its responsibilities interact with the other Parliament’s, to pass a motion seeking a response from the UK or Scottish Government. The relevant Government in each case should then be expected to respond as it would to a committee of its own Parliament.

RECOMMENDATION 4.11: There should be a greater degree of practical recognition between the Parliaments, acknowledging that it is a proper function of members of either Parliament to visit and attend meetings of relevance at the other; and their administrative arrangements should reflect this.

RECOMMENDATION 4.12: The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) machinery should be enhanced in the following ways:

a. The primary focus should be on championing and ensuring close working and cooperation rather than dispute resolution (though it will be a forum to consider the latter as well).

b. There should be an expanded range of areas for discussion to provide greater opportunities for cooperation and the development of joint interests.

c. There should be scope to allow issues to be discussed at the appropriate level including the resolution of areas of disagreement at the lowest possible level.

RECOMMENDATION 4.13: The JMC should remain the top level, and meet in plenary at least annually, but most importantly to a longstanding timetable. In addition:

a. JMC(D) and JMC(E) should continue in much the same form, but with more regular meetings and to a longstanding timetable. There should be an additional JMC(Finance) which subsumes the role of the Finance Quadrilateral.

b. Sitting below the JMC(D), JMC(E) and JMC(F) meetings should be a senior officials level meeting, JMC(O).

RECOMMENDATION 4.14: Where inter-governmental ministerial meetings are held to discuss the overall UK position in relation to devolved policy areas, the relevant Secretary of State should generally chair these meetings on behalf of the overall UK interest, with another relevant UK Minister representing the policy interests of the UK Government in relation to those parts of the UK where the policy is not devolved.

RECOMMENDATION 4.15: A new legislative procedure should be established to allow the Scottish Parliament to seek the consent of the UK Parliament to legislate in reserved areas where there is an interaction with the exercise of devolved powers.

RECOMMENDATION 4.16: In the development of the UK Government policy position in relation to the EU:

a. Early and proactive engagement by the relevant UK Government department with its Scottish Government counterpart should be a matter of course.

b. In addition Scottish Ministers and the relevant Scottish Parliament committee should become more proactive in identifying EU issues of interest to Scotland at an early stage, and taking the initiative accordingly.

c. The JMC(E) should continue to be used to determine the UK Government position on EU matters.

RECOMMENDATION 4.17: To ensure Scottish Ministers are visibly engaged with EU business affecting their interests:

a. When a request is received there should be a presumption that Scottish Ministers are accepted as part of the UK delegation where EU matters which cover devolved areas are for discussion;

b. When Scottish Ministers request to speak in support of the agreed UK Government line there should be a presumption that this is granted wherever practicable.

RECOMMENDATION 4.18: Closer involvement between Scottish MEPs and the Scottish Parliament is needed, and Scottish MEPs should be invited to attend, and should attend, the Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee regularly on a non-voting basis. The Committee should schedule its meetings to facilitate their regular attendance.

The JMC process should be subject to greater Parliamentary scrutiny, and have greater public transparency:

a. Agendas and timelines should be published in advance of each JMC, JMC(E), JMC(D) or JMC(F) meeting, and a communiqué from each should be issued.

b. After each full JMC meeting the First Minster should make a statement to the Scottish Parliament, and the Prime Minister, or UK Government Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Scotland, should make a statement to the UK Parliament.

c. An annual report of the JMC should be prepared, and laid by each Government before its Parliament, and it should be scrutinised by the new of the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament.

RECOMMENDATION 4.20: Scottish MPs should actively demonstrate appropriate oversight and stewardship of the constitution by way of regular scrutiny of the shape and operation of the devolution settlement.

RECOMMENDATION 4.21: The responsibility for appointing, or approving appointments of, senior civil servants to senior posts in the Scottish Government should be delegated by the Prime Minister to the Head of the Home Civil Service, acting on the advice of the UK Civil Service Commissioners.

RECOMMENDATION 4.22: The Commission has heard of a lack of understanding of devolution within some UK Government departments, and this should be addressed by reinvigorated training and awareness raising programmes.

RECOMMENDATION 4.23: The Civil Service Codes should be amended to recognise the importance of cooperation and mutual respect.

RECOMMENDATION 5.1: The powers of the Secretary of State for Scotland relating to the administration of elections to the Scottish Parliament should be devolved.

RECOMMENDATION 5.4: The responsibility for the appointment of the Scottish member of the BBC Trust should be exercised by Scottish Ministers, subject to the normal public appointments process.

RECOMMENDATION 5.10: Funding for policy relating to animal health should be devolved whilst responsibility for funding exotic disease outbreaks should be retained at a UK level.

RECOMMENDATION 5.13: The regulation of airguns should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

RECOMMENDATION 5.14: Responsibility for those aspects of the licensing and control of controlled substances that relate to their use in the treatment of addiction should be transferred to Scottish Ministers.

RECOMMENDATION 5.15: Regulation-making powers relating to drink-driving limits should be transferred to Scottish Ministers.

RECOMMENDATION 5.16: The power to determine the level of the national speed limit in Scotland should be devolved.

RECOMMENDATION 5.17: The effectiveness of the agreement [on marine planning] reached by the UK and Scottish Governments should be kept under review by the intergovernmental machinery, and nature conservation should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament at the earliest appropriate opportunity, taking into account the experience and evidence to be gained from the operation of the regime set out in the respective Marine Bills.

RECOMMENDATION 5.21: The Deprived Areas Fund should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament given the geographic nature of the help it is designed to provide and the fit with the Scottish Government’s wider responsibilities.

RECOMMENDATION 5.22: As part of its considerations as to future reform of the Social Fund, the UK Government should explore devolving the discretionary elements of the Fund to the Scottish Parliament.

RECOMMENDATION 5.2: There should be a single definition of each of the expressions “charity” and “charitable purpose(s)”, applicable for all purposes throughout the United Kingdom. This should be enacted by the UK Parliament with the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

RECOMMENDATION 5.3: A charity duly registered in one part of the United Kingdom should be able to conduct its charitable activities in another part of the UK without being required to register separately in the latter part and without being subject to the reporting and accounting requirements of the regulator in that part.

RECOMMENDATION 5.11: The Scottish Parliament should not have the power to legislate on food content and labelling in so far as that legislation would cause a breach of the single market in the UK by placing a burden on the manufacturing, distribution and supply of foodstuffs to consumers, and Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act should be amended accordingly.

RECOMMENDATION 5.12: The regulation of all health professions, not just those specified in the Scotland Act, should be reserved.

RECOMMENDATION 5.23: The UK Insolvency Service, with appropriate input from the relevant department(s) of the Scottish Government, should be made responsible for laying down the rules to be applied by insolvency practitioners on both sides of the border. This should be achieved by UK legislation.

RECOMMENDATION 5.5: In recognition of the close interaction of the Health and Safety Executive’s reserved functions with areas of devolved policy, a closer relationship between the HSE in Scotland and the Scottish Parliament should be developed.

RECOMMENDATION 5.6: Whilst retaining the current reservation of immigration, active consideration (supported by inter-governmental machinery) should be given to agreeing sustainable local variations to reflect the particular skills and demographic needs of Scotland.

RECOMMENDATION 5.7: In dealing with the children of asylum seekers, the relevant UK authorities must recognise the statutory responsibilities of Scottish authorities for the well-being of children in Scotland.

RECOMMENDATION 5.8: The Secretary of State for Scotland should, in consultation with Scottish Ministers, more actively exercise his powers of direction under the Crown Estate Act 1961 and, having consulted Scottish Ministers, should give consideration to whether such direction is required immediately.

RECOMMENDATION 5.9: The appointment of a Scottish Crown Estate Commissioner should be made following formal consultation with Scottish Ministers.

RECOMMENDATION 5.18: Research Councils UK should re-examine its approach to funding so that Scottish institutions [such as the Scottish Agricultural College] delivering a comparable function to institutions elsewhere in the UK have access to the same sources of research funding, with the aim of ensuring that the effective framework for research that has been established across the UK is not jeopardised.

RECOMMENDATION 5.19: There should be scope for Scottish Ministers, with the agreement of the Scottish Parliament, to propose changes to the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit systems (as they apply in Scotland) when these are connected to devolved policy changes, and for the UK Government – if it agrees – to make those changes by suitable regulation.

RECOMMENDATION 5.20: A formal consultation role should be built into DWP’s commissioning process for those welfare to work programmes that are based in, or extend to, Scotland so that the views of the Scottish Government on particular skills or other needs that require to be addressed in Scotland are properly taken into account.

RECOMMENDATION 5.24: The interpretation provision in relation to “social security purpose” in the Scotland Act should be amended to make it clear that the reservation refers to social security purposes related to the type of provision provided by the UK Department for Work and Pensions.

RECOMMENDATION 6.1: In relation to the Parliament’s committee system:

a. The structure of dual-purpose committees established both to carry out investigative inquiries and to undertake the detailed scrutiny of legislation, should be maintained.

b. The level of turnover of committee memberships during a session should be minimised, in order to enable committee members to build expertise.

c. Committees should have the facility to establish subcommittees to address temporary problems of legislative overload, without this requiring the prior approval of the Parliament as a whole.

RECOMMENDATION 6.2: The current three-stage Bill process should be changed to a four-stage process, with Stage 3 becoming limited to a second main amending stage, taken in the Chamber, while the final debate on whether to pass the Bill would become Stage 4.

RECOMMENDATION 6.3: The Parliament should amend its rules so that any MSP has the right to propose, at the conclusions of the Stage 3 amendment proceedings, that parts of a Bill be referred back to committee for further Stage 2 consideration.

RECOMMENDATION 6.4: The Presiding Officer should be able to identify in advance of Stage 3 amendments that (in his view) raise substantial issues not considered at earlier stages. If, at the end of the amendment proceedings, any such amendment has been agreed to, relevant provisions of the Bill should be referred back to committee for further Stage 2 consideration unless the Parliament decides otherwise (on a motion that may be moved only by the member in charge of the Bill).

RECOMMENDATION 6.5: Section 31(1) of the Scotland Act should be amended to require any person introducing a Bill in the Parliament to make a statement that it is (in that person’s opinion) within the Parliament’s legislative competence.

RECOMMENDATION 6.6: The Explanatory Notes published with a Bill should give a general account of the main considerations that informed the statement on legislative competence under section 31(1).

RECOMMENDATION 6.7: Section 19(1) of the Scotland Act should be amended so as to loosen the requirement on the Parliament to appoint a Presiding Officer and deputies at the first meeting of a new session, and to enable additional deputies to be appointed if and when that becomes appropriate.

RECOMMENDATION 6.8: There should be a review of all other provisions in the Act that constrain the Parliament in terms of its procedures or working arrangements to ensure they are proportionate, appropriate and effective.


  1. Oh so much emphasis on keeping the union intact. Of course that's what the whole thing is about and nothing else.

    I shall wait until you and other analytical experts cast their minds over it all. One thing I would like to say is that I'm pleased Alex Salmond and John Swinney are the people who will analyse this in government. If we still had the last administration this would be rubber stamped within the blink of an eye.

  2. "If we still had the last administration this would be rubber stamped within the blink of an eye."

    No it wouldn't, as to implement any of this requires Westminster legislation.

    But don't you worry about letting facts get in the way of your deluded worldview.

  3. "But don't you worry about letting facts get in the way of your deluded worldview."

    Completely meaningless!

    "deluded worldview?"

    Subrosa, as far as I know has no "worldview," deluded or otherwise. That we leave our betters, like GB who saved the World.

    Scottish Nationalism is not National Socialism, BNP or Stalinism.

    A tired but well rehearsed Unionist smear.

  4. I thought HMRC refused to collect LIT - saying they couldn't administer separate income tax rates across the UK - is this a unionist U-turn?

  5. As with most complex bits of social policy - the report of the Calman Commission is a number of things. While it is undeniable that it is attempting to solidify the solidarity of Union, we must recognise that other strands are informing it work, including broader questions of the relationship between taxation and expenditure, and how that in turn relates to the decisive judgements of the public on what we should or should not do.

    For clarity sake, however, sm753 is correct to suggest that Westminster own the stamp and technically, have the only say on how the Scotland Act 1998 might be amended. That said, decision-making doesn't happen in a decontaminated bubble. It makes sense to analyse political and policy decisions "in the round", encapsulating the broad context which informs them.

  6. SadMac753 aka Andy Moulden2 aka Rufus aka etc etc etc.

    You continue to bring ridicule on your pathetic head just as the Quislings who seek to prevent Scottish Independence with their pointless Calman Cabal report. You poor sods just cannot grasp the truth. Scotland is to be shot of the lot of you, this report is like throwing petrol on a fire, the best recruiting sargent we have next to you and your multi faceted monikers on The Scotsman forum. On yer bike ye waste of space.