Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Speech to 'safeguard Scots jobs'

The Queen
The Queen delivered her speech at Westminster

Thousands of jobs will be safeguarded in Scotland and its economy boosted as a result of measures in the Queen's Speech, the UK government has said.

Gordon Brown's programme for government also outlined plans for more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

But the SNP branded it "less of a legislative programme and more of a closing down sale".

The Scotland Office said eight of the 10 new bills announced would bring benefits to Scotland.

The Prime Minister has put economic recovery at the heart of his plans - but opposition parties likened the proposals to a Labour manifesto, saying that, with an election due in June, few bills would become law.

If Labour were serious about more responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament, the speech would have included actual legislation before the General Election
Angus Robertson
SNP Westminster leader

The speech outlined a commitment to taking forward the recommendations of the Calman Commission review of Scottish devolution, which recommended Holyrood should take charge of half the income tax raised in Scotland.

A total of 87,000 financial services jobs would be safeguarded north of the border through legislation to regulate the industry, the Scotland Office said, adding that more than one million Scottish savers and borrowers would be protected.

The Scotland Office also said the measures would tackle the 100,000 Scottish pensioner households currently in extreme fuel poverty, while legislation to boost technology infrastructure would benefit 500 digital media companies and 800 IT companies in Scotland.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, who will lay out plans on taking forward the Calman report in the next few weeks, said of the legislative programme: "It is about strengthening economic growth and locking in the recovery, laying the foundations for the green, digital economy of the future."

The Nationalists challenged Labour to implement proposals on devolving power in areas including air weapons, drink-drive limits, borrowing powers and the running of Scottish Parliament elections.

Democracy Live: Queen's Speech in full

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson, said: "This is less of a legislative programme and more of a closing down sale by a tired government that is out of time.

"If Labour were serious about more responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament, the speech would have included actual legislation before the General Election, not simply empty promises.

"There wasn't even a commitment to implementing the Calman proposals - only taking them forward.

In her speech, the Queen also said the UK government would "respond" to proposals for high-speed rail services between London and Scotland.



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