The powers of Scotland

Today's Scottish Parliament elections are the most important since the first were held for Holyrood in 1999.

Thursday, 5th May 2016, 12:05 am

With the historic Scotland Bill having now passed through both Westminster and Edinburgh legislatures, a whole range of new powers will be coming to the Scottish Parliament after today.

Holyrood won’t just be made up of new politicians – it will also have the responsibilities a modern Scotland deserves to have and be one of the most powerful devolved assemblies in the world.

This is why it is so important that voters across the Borders use their democratic right at polling stations – whatever way you are planning to vote – between 7am and 10pm.

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The Scottish Parliament will be responsible for what you pay in income tax and MSPs now have power over a range of benefits. That means if the Scottish Government wishes to change the benefits system from the way the UK government is doing things, then it will be able to.

It will be able to up benefits to help the most vulnerable in our society, and this has only been achieved by the Scottish and UK administrations working together on the Scotland bill to ensure a fair deal.

What Scottish voters now deserve after this election from whoever is elected is for the politicians to have a grown-up debate about decisions which will affect the day-to-day lives of the people they represent across the country.

Scots can now look forward to a country which makes the vast majority of its own decisions in it own parliament with the right powers to do so.

If the polls are correct, then it is likely that the SNP will form the Scottish Government again. As the Scotland bill showed, the Edinburgh and London administrations can work together, and as the MP who takes in large parts of Tweeddale and the Borders, I am more than willing to work with whoever gets elected in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, and Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale for the benefit of both of these constituencies and voters who live in this region.

I hope that this election will produce a high turnout, with voters showing their commitment to a new and mature Scottish Parliament by holding their representatives to account.