Ruth Davidson MSP

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Ruth Davidson MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Ruth Davidson

I am sorry; John Swinney is correct to point out that the proposals were published by the Scottish Conservatives, but I hope that the Scottish Government will soon adopt them, given that the First Minister is so consensual.

The proposals are fully costed not just from the £80 million tax cut that will be passed on but from all the other unallocated Barnett consequentials from the 2014 autumn statement. I am glad that the First Minister will consider our proposals, because they will give a tax cut to ordinary people who want to get on the property ladder and to ordinary people who want to climb the property ladder and, at the lower end, they will take more people out of tax altogether. In comparison with the SNP plans, our proposals constitute a better deal for every single homebuyer.

As she did last week, the week before that and the week before that, the First Minister claims that she wants to be consensual. So far, she has not actually moved on any issue. We have shown how it can be done, so I urge her to work with me to make sure that it is done and that we give homebuyers an early Christmas present. When can we meet to make our proposals become reality?



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Ruth Davidson

I welcome the First Minister’s conversion to the cause. I am glad that she will consider our proposals, but I will press my case. There are some simple facts to consider. From midnight on 3 December, thanks to the UK Government, home owners in Scotland are paying £80 million less in tax. The proposals published by the Scottish Government this morning are fully costed—



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Ruth Davidson

Two months ago, the SNP Government said clearly that property taxes should raise no more or less than the taxes that they replace. Has the First Minister changed her mind?



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Ruth Davidson

When he unveiled his plans to reform stamp duty on house buying in October, John Swinney said that he did not intend to take more money from people than is currently collected. His exact words were:

“I have decided that the taxes raised should be revenue neutral, raising no more or less than the taxes that they replace.”—[Official Report, 9 October 2014; c 39.]

Since then, stamp duty rates have been cut by £800 million across the United Kingdom and by £80 million in Scotland. People buying houses now are getting a better deal. However, the Scottish National Party’s position is to take that deal away. That is, in fact, an £80 million tax grab on Scotland’s home owners. [Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
2. Ruth Davidson (Glasgow) (Con)

I add the thoughts and prayers of me and my party for those who have been affected by the horrific events in Australia and Pakistan. I know that there are people in Scotland who have been affected, too. They are in all our thoughts.

I welcome Labour’s new deputy leader and congratulate her on her election.

To ask the First Minister when she will next meet the Secretary of State for Scotland. (S4F-02481)



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Ruth Davidson

The First Minister said that it is just a small drop this year and that we need to look at the figures in more detail, so let us do that. In the SNP’s first year in government—2008—the numbers went down. In its second year—2009—the numbers went down. In its third year—2010—the numbers went down. In its fourth year—2011—the numbers went down. In its fifth year, the numbers went down. In its sixth year, the numbers went down. This year—for the seventh consecutive year—the numbers have gone down.

The First Minister responded again with the stock response about Westminster budget cuts, which she put at 10 per cent. However, the issue is about political choices. Here is the thing that neither the First Minister nor the education minister will admit: budgets have been restrained right across the United Kingdom and yet elsewhere teacher numbers are going up. Figures that I have here from the Department for Education show that teacher numbers down south have gone up by 12,000 since 2007 and are now at their highest level ever.

There is a reason for that. When headteachers are given the power to run their own school and are freed from the dead hand of central control, they make better decisions for their school, better decisions about staffing and better decisions for their pupils. This SNP Government is failing our children, even by its own measures, because teacher numbers are down, class sizes are up and we are struggling in the international league tables.

If the First Minister looked around the world, she would see that school reform is the answer, so why is her Government so against it?



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Ruth Davidson

Five weeks ago, the then First Minister was asked about a fall in the number of teachers in our schools. His excuse was that the number did not matter because the pupil-teacher ratio was the same and, anyway, it was all Westminster’s fault.

Yesterday, the Scottish Government’s own figures showed that teacher numbers have fallen by more than 4,000 since the Scottish National Party came into office and that the pupil-teacher ratio is going up.

I ask this First Minister: what is the Government’s excuse this time?



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
2. Ruth Davidson (Glasgow) (Con)

To ask the First Minister when she will next meet the Prime Minister. (S4F-02463)



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Ruth Davidson

Will Roderick Campbell take an intervention?



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Ruth Davidson

I want to make progress.

From Labour and the SNP, for example, we already hear calls to increase income taxation. That will be their choice and one that they can take to the electorate of this country. For my part, my priorities will be simple. First, I want to reduce the taxes that we will be responsible for. Early next year, the Scottish Conservatives will launch our low tax commission, which will examine how we can better use the basket of taxes that we will soon have control over and will advise us how best to go forward as a dynamic, low-tax nation.

Secondly, we will support all moves to grow the tax base. The “Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland” figures show that, per head of population, income tax receipts are lower in Scotland than they are in the UK as a whole, but if we got those receipts up to UK levels, nearly £2 billion more per year would flow into the Scottish Government’s coffers. That creates a real incentive for the Scottish Government to do so. Given that half of all VAT is to be assigned here too, there is also an incentive to grow retail sales to support Scottish businesses that make and sell things. That is the prize on offer if we drive our economy forward, and it is, I suggest, a significant prize.

We will also face big challenges on how we use the new welfare powers. Again, we will no doubt differ in our approach to how those powers should be used. I support reform of our welfare system that gives help and encouragement to people to get back to work and which cuts the country’s benefits bill. The SNP opposes that reform. I back a cap on the amount that any one family can claim in welfare. The SNP says that it wants to lift that cap. I believe that it should not be possible to claim more in benefits than the average family earns through work. The SNP does not agree.

The choices that ministers face in this area are immense. The new personal independence payment system is to be devolved to the Scottish Government. The work programme will also be devolved. In addition, ministers will be able to propose entirely new benefits if they so wish. Just as the Scottish Government has chosen to eliminate the spare-room subsidy in Scotland, it will have the power to act in other areas, too. It could offer a resettlement benefit to prisoners who leave jail, a payment to lone parents in parts of Scotland who need childcare and even a Scottish winter wind and rain allowance for days like today. It may choose to offer all or none of those things, but the choice is there to be made.

What is proposed will take time to implement. Switching over complex benefit systems to the Scottish Government, which does not currently have the technical infrastructure to support those mechanisms, means that capacity will have to be built. That is something that we need to do right. We need the Scottish Government to act in good faith to ensure that that capacity is built and that the transition is a smooth one.

When he published his proposals last month, Lord Smith rightly described the commission’s work as an “unprecedented achievement.” He added:

“It demanded compromise from all of the parties. In some cases that meant moving to devolve greater powers than they had previously committed to, while for other parties it meant accepting the outcome would fall short of their ultimate ambitions. It shows that, however difficult, our political leaders can come together, work together, and reach agreement with one another.”

I believe that he was right in that assessment. I also believe that voters in Scotland expect us to agree something else, too—that it is well past time for us to focus on the powers that we have and those that are coming to us rather than stoke false grievance about those powers that will remain reserved.

People in Scotland gave us their decision. They want a powerful Scottish Parliament that remains within rather than being separate from the United Kingdom. The work that the Smith commission has put in means that we have the tools to deliver on that verdict, so let us get on and use them.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees with the Smith Commission’s proposals to devolve significant new powers to the Parliament; welcomes the fact that all five parties represented at the Parliament came together to reach an agreement on these powers, and now recognises the need to move on from a debate about what powers are devolved to one that focuses on how best to use these significant new powers for the betterment of the people of Scotland.

14:55  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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NoCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Ruth Davidson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11863: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11830: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10843.1.2: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10154: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08707.1: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08501: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07619: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07499: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/08/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07133: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 25/06/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06569: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Ruth Davidson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02481: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02463: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02440: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02421: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02394: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02375: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02353: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02336: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02317: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02304: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>

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