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REX
UK News

Christian MSPs split on devolved Scottish powers

Ministers in London insist the Scottish Parliament's being transformed into one of the most powerful devolved assemblies in the world.

Draft clauses that will underpin legislation to deliver new powers have been published by the UK Government.

MSPs will get to make more decisions on income tax, local elections and air passenger duty.

Christian Tory MSP Murdo Fraser is welcoming the changes. Speaking to Premier, he said: "What was said at the time was that there would be substantial further devolution.

"On any measure, this represents substantial further devolution. It will mean that the Scottish Parliament will have more powers as a sub-national legislator than virtually any other in the western world."

But the Scottish National Party's accusing politicians at Westminster of failing to deliver on their devolution promises.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the basis for new legislation - that's being put forward today - waters down some key proposals on welfare, employment support and borrowing.

Christian MSP John Mason of the SNP said: "Any transfer of powers to Scotland is a good thing and we can make our own decisions.

"But people didn't feel the Smith Commission proposals went far enough. We feel this Bill is a somewhat watered down version of those proposals and we've got a general election coming in May and these [powers] may never take effect."

The proposed legislation has been put together following the recommendations of the Smith Commission which was set in the wake of the independence referendum.

Although it won't be introduced until after the UK election in May, all the major parties have pledged to ensure it becomes law.

Listen to Murdo Fraser speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones:

Listen to John Mason speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones:

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