The recommendations of the Smith Commission on the powers to be devolved to the Scottish parliament have emerged through negotiation by the five major political parties in Scotland. It could not be otherwise.
The Smith Commission said Westminster should remain in charge of licensing for all offshore oil and has extraction but Holyrood could get power to determine onshore oil and gas extraction. Holyrood is to be handed new responsibilities over income tax and welfare as part of a deal on devolution drawn up in the aftermath of the Scottish independence referendum. The Smith Commission, which was set up to examine what further powers could be transferred to Edinburgh, has recommended that the Scottish Parliament should be able to set its own income tax rates, with all of the cash earned staying north of the border.
A north-east oil and gas academic has called for energy policy to be fully devolved to Scotland with all revenues flowing to Holyrood. In a submission to the Smith Commission, Alex Russell argued the Scottish Parliament should also have control over the fiscal and regulatory regime for “all economic activity” both onshore and in the North Sea. Professor Russell, an expert in petroleum accounting at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said devolving more financial powers north of the border would encourage future growth.