By Martin Kelly
New powers to set drink drive and speed limits along with the control of airguns will be transferred to the Scottish Parliament this week.
The powers are part of a package contained in the Scotland Bill which was recently passed by the Westminster Parliament.

The Scottish Government will consult in the coming weeks on proposed changes to drink drive limits.

Over the summer, Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill will also chair a meeting of the Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel, established to develop plans for firearms reform in Scotland.

The proposals although welcomed by the Scottish government, have been described by the SNP as failing to keep pace with events.

Welcoming the new powers Cabinet Secretary for Government Strategy Bruce Crawford said:

"We welcome additional responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament and are moving quickly to make use of the new powers we will gain next week to benefit the people of Scotland.

"On speed limits, these powers will enable the Scottish Government to make the right decisions for Scottish roads rather than have any changes imposed by Westminster.  Road safety is our first priority and we have no current plans to increase speed limits. 

"Work is already underway on airguns reform through the work of the Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel.  Another meeting will be chaired by Mr MacAskill over the summer.  And a consultation will begin in the coming weeks on proposed changes to drink drive limits."

Mr Crawford described the package as a “a missed opportunity” and claimed that the limited taxation and borrowing powers will be “out of date long before they actually have any effect”.

He added: "This Act will be remembered for what it did not do.  The recent Scottish Attitudes Survey findings show that there is a clear public appetite for Scotland to have greater control over its own affairs - and that is exactly what independence offers. 

"Four times as many people in Scotland trust the Scottish Government to act in Scotland's best interests than trust the UK Government to do so.  Trust in the Scottish Government has leapt from 61 per cent to 71 per cent over the past year, according to the latest annual Scottish Social Attitudes survey.  Trust in the UK Government is at just 18 per cent.

"The people of Scotland no longer trust the UK Government to act in their best interests. Their trust lies with the Scottish Government, as they know we will listen to their views and act fairly."

On July 3, powers over airguns, drink drive and speed limits will transfer to the Scottish Parliament along with a role in public appointments to the BBC Trust.  The term 'Scottish Executive' will be replaced by 'Scottish Government' for all purposes.

Limited taxation powers over income tax, land transaction and landfill taxes, some powers to borrow for capital purposes as well as new procedures for Scottish criminal cases to be considered by the UK Supreme Court will be commenced at a later date.

The SNP has also stepped up calls for UK Government to rethink the budget hike in air passenger duty (APD) and devolve control of the tax to Scotland.

APD increased by almost 10 per cent on April 1 – meaning a family of four flying to Florida have been hit by an increase of £260 while a family who have saved for a trip to Australia will now be hit by £368 in charges.

The devolution of APD is supported by all four of Scotland’s largest airports and by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.  It was also recommended by the Calman Commission on Scottish Devolution, although it was left out the Scotland Bill.

The UK Treasury has already devolved APD to Northern Ireland, which also benefited from a cut in the tax last November.

SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP said:

"After Treasury U-turn’s on pasties, caravans and fuel duty the Chancellor should now jettison his Air Passenger Duty increase as well.  His budget air raid will hit families who have saved all year for a summer holiday as well as damaging the wider Scottish economy.

"There is overwhelming evidence that Air Passenger Duty should be devolved to Scotland, to give our aviation industry the competitive edge that it needs.

Mr McNeil added:

"The Chancellor has already announced plans to devolve the tax in Northern Ireland. That’s great news for them – but Scottish passengers deserve to be treated equally.

"Devolution of APD would enable the Scottish Government to incentivise airlines to provide new direct international routes, providing Scotland's passengers with enhanced options as they go about their business more freely and more effectively.

"The best interests of Scottish air passengers are not being served by Westminster control.  According to figures from the Minister of State for Transport, there are currently just four international non-EU routes from Scotland.  Compare that with the similar sized nation of Denmark – connected to emerging markets like Russia, Japan, China and 24 other non-EU destinations.

"The Scottish Government is better placed to serve Scotland’s interests. The Treasury needs to listen and learn - its refusal to devolve control is damaging to Scotland’s air industry."


# K Mackay 2012-07-01 02:06
Totally O/T but check out it's bbc coverage of the Edinburgh Gay Pride march, notice the massive rainbow YesScotland banner! Great way to sneak some nice pro indy messages into the MSM. I propose we all make Yes banners and spend all our free time looking for news cameras to get in back of shot :)
# pmcrek 2012-07-01 05:33
We should stick some marriage equality banners in there too, as worthy a cause as independence.
# rhymer 2012-07-01 06:43
[quote name="K Mackay" I propose we all make Yes banners and spend all our free time looking for news cameras to get in back of shot :)
I propose we hire somebody who will carry a big YES banner, then
follow A. Darling around and stand behind him at every photo
and TV opportunity.
# UpSpake 2012-07-01 06:39
That's what Scotland needs in this Topsy Turvy world, control of speed limits and those nasty nasty air guns.
Good God!.
# SolTiger 2012-07-01 20:44
I have real fears about the air gun stuff.

Basically I reckon it will turn out to be another case of what Westminster have done for years.

Ban things only to make headlines.

UK has some rediculous laws about knives, swords, guns, airguns and "things that look like guns".

Laws that make no sense and have had NO effect at all on actual violent crime.

All they do is criminalise collectors, sports people and historical groups.

Someone who has their mind set on killing or wounding someone else will not give a damn if their chosen tool of doing so is also unlawful.

Headlines like "gun laws tightened" and "swords banned" are simple soundbites and attempts to gain some publicity. It is easier than actually trying to tackle the REAL causes of violent crime.

Sorry for the long reply UpSpake, but as someone with an interest in history, historical weapons and sports like airsoft, fencing and so on I am forever being affected by this nonsense.
# From The Suburbs 2012-07-01 07:40
Herald reports that No campaign is raising thousands of pounds from Dining Clubs run by Tory Toffs South of the Border.

Still waiting for Scottish media to comment on BBC London's dictat that their correspondents are not to use the words "the NO campaign"
# RJBH 2012-07-01 08:03
No doubt the new powers will gar Lamont grue.
# xyz 2012-07-01 08:08
So these powers are a few crumbs from the Scotland bill? Why not all of that Scotland bill, and now?

On the other hand, any powers devolved are only those designed to make the Scottish government less popular ahead of the referendum.

Is there any need to change the drink drive limit, speed limits or legislation relating to air guns? These powers only keep the Scottish government busy with vote losing policies.

The Scottish government is right to shout about air passenger duty, but let's have a longer list of popular policies that can be pursued only when Scotland is independent.
# colin8652 2012-07-01 08:25
The one speed limit that does need changed is the HGV limit on the A9. Present law dictates that on single carriageway unrestricted roads any HGV over 7.5 tonnes are limited to 40, transit vans to 50 and cars to 60 If truck and van speed limits were increased to 55 and cars restricted to 55 on single carriageway sections of the A9 accidents would be reduced. It would also make the BMW and Audi drivers who firmly believe they have an exemption to A9 speed limits stand out like sore thumbs.
# xyz 2012-07-01 08:32
ah . good .. that does sound like the kind of sensible thing an SNP Scottish government would do!
# hiorta 2012-07-01 08:52
Tampering with speed limits is all very well, but what we need is a road suitable for modern European traffic.

Auction off unwanted nuclear contrivances and spend the money - our money - on sensitive upgrading of our infrastructure
# colin8652 2012-07-01 10:35
agreed, i was just proposing a short term soloution. Steveb bellow ...Ah I always suspected BMWs were exempt from A9 Speed limits
# steveb 2012-07-01 08:35
Colin 8652.

Hey! I am a BMW driver and I am exempt from the speed limits.
# Silverytay 2012-07-01 08:45
The Scotland act is more to do with westminster trying to retain powers rather than giving Scotland any powers that matter .
As far as A.P.D is concerned ? There is no way that they will transfer that to the Scottish Government as they do not want Scotland getting above its station and becoming a centre for international flights , they would rather force us to go through that city of corruption that is known as london .
There is only one way to gain the powers that Scotland needs and that is by voting YES in 2014 .
# Oddquine 2012-07-01 11:51
Quoting Silverytay:
The Scotland act is more to do with westminster trying to retain powers rather than giving Scotland any powers that matter .
As far as A.P.D is concerned ? There is no way that they will transfer that to the Scottish Government as they do not want Scotland getting above its station and becoming a centre for international flights , they would rather force us to go through that city of corruption that is known as london .
There is only one way to gain the powers that Scotland needs and that is by voting YES in 2014 .

I don't think the Devo-max option even seriously exists, far less has a prospect of implementation...whatever the promises now of vote NO and get an undefined, enhanced devolution at some time in the future when/if we feel like letting you have it.

Economically, devolution was deliberately designed to preserve the status quo, and can be expanded forever, if that is the will of a UK Government, without allowing us anything useful to aid our economy....because if you control a country's economy, and store the proceeds of that economy in one central bank as a communal undifferentiate d pot, you control the country, however much of their own administration you let them take on and how much pocket money you give them to spend as they like.

You can see that thinking behind all three Scotland bills, to date...and the very fact of there even being a 2012 Bill, simply confirms, to my mind that Devo-Max is not an option, but a red for any version of devolution is simply voting for the status quo with cosmetic differences but no real powers. Power devolved is power retained.

Devo-max, as visualised by some in Scotland as the half-way house between Independence and the status quo, which keeps the Union concept, but removes the complete economic control by the Union, would require real fiscal powers and the retention of most of the Scottish income in/to Scotland, or at least a system to accurately identify/separate out our income from everybody else's. That would be a set-up more akin to federalism, than devolution...and it just ain't going to happen.
# Seagetagrip 2012-07-01 09:09

Herald editorial supports introduction of second question. Interesting!
# Barbazenzero 2012-07-01 11:30
Yes, but they're (as usual) being somewhat two faced about it.

The Herald View "Scots deserve devo max option" - but "balance" it with a much less positive "Salmond: Scots have a right to second question on devo max" - - which features in their daily email.
# sneckedagain 2012-07-01 10:32
The main effect of SNP support for a second option is to seriously embarrass the NO faction as there is no way they can come up with a coordinated response on this. It also has the effect of moving opinion strongly away from the status quo and a fairly short step away from Independence. It will be very easy to establish that anything Devo Max, (should it ever be defined) can do Independence can do better and the real killer points - Trident, Oil Revenues, Foreign invasions etc - await deployment at the appropriate time.
BTW Only independence provides FFA.

The two cards we could deploy very effectively are Commonwealth and confederation.
We are engaged in a war of attrition at the moment and we will raise our game as the steam runs out of the NO campaign as it has already started to do. In the final analysis Scots will vote, in national self respect, for a better country and a better future.

If there was a vote tomorrow as to whether Scotland should join the floundering UK do you think it would carry the day?

This says it all for me
Freedom Come-All-Ye

Roch the wind in the clear day's dawin
Blaws the cloods heilster-gowdie owre the bay
But there's mair nor a roch wind blawin
Thro the Great Glen o the warld the day
It's a thocht that wad gar oor rottans
Aa thae rogues that gang gallus fresh an gay
Tak the road an seek ither loanins
Wi thair ill-ploys tae sport an play

Nae mair will our bonnie callants
Merch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans frae pitheid an clachan
Mourn the ships sailin doun the Broomielaw
Broken faimlies in lands we've hairriet
Will curse 'Scotlan the Brave' nae mair, nae mair
Black an white ane-til-ither mairriet
Mak the vile barracks o thair maisters bare

Sae come aa ye at hame wi freedom
Never heed whit the houdies croak for Doom
In yer hoose aa the bairns o Adam
Will find breid, barley-bree an paintit room
When Maclean meets wi's friens in Springburn
Aa thae roses an geans will turn tae blume
An yon black boy frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o the burghers doun.

The day has come for Hamish Henderson's magnificent international Scottish national anthem
# Mei 2012-07-01 14:08
Ian Raymond singing the same
# Seagetagrip 2012-07-01 11:05
Could`nt agree more!
They are terrified to ask for the opinions of the Scottish People in any shape or form. A debate over the "second question" will find them oot!!
# Dundonian West 2012-07-01 14:55
Exactly! Scotland Labour/Tory NO MPs (that means all of them),are scared stiff o that one.
# sneckedagain 2012-07-01 15:46
Ian Raymond's version is nice

5 Hand Reel's version is much more assertive and more to my taste.

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