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Scotland Secures More Borrowing Powers

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TEHRAN, May 15 (ICANA) – Salmond made the claim after he attended a meeting with Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, who hesitantly agreed to hand over control of corporation tax to the government.
Sunday, May 15, 2011 1:57:35 PM
Scotland Secures More Borrowing Powers

The two met for the first time since Salmond's Scottish National Party (SNP) won a landslide victory in the May 5 parliamentary polls. The Nationalists took 69 of the 129 seats to gain the Scottish Parliament's first working majority for the first time since Holyrood was founded in 1999.

The talks focused on SNP demands for "more teeth" in the Scotland Bill, which is currently passing through Westminster. If approved, the bill would devolve more tax and borrowing powers to Holyrood.

However, the SNP is calling for even greater borrowing powers to be included, alongside control over corporation tax and the Crown Estate.

The party has already urged British Prime Minister David Cameron to increase Scotland's financial powers, and the Thursday meeting offered Salmond the first chance to press the UK government on the matter.

"We have agreed on a process whereby we are submitting evidence on the three areas we have identified and the secretary of state is going to come back to us after consultation with the prime minister, the chancellor and his colleagues,” he said.

Salmond said he believed there was more progress with borrowing than corporation tax. "Borrowing powers there seemed to be quite a bit of progress, the Crown Estate, he seemed very interested, corporation tax, there seemed to be an element of hesitation."

"My view on this is that I am very happy to be positive and constructive, but these are things on which the Scottish people has spoken. We are talking here about additions to the Scotland Bill to make it something that the people have voted for and which the Scottish Parliament can accept," he pointed out.

Salmond said progress would have to be made quickly, with the bill due to come back before the Scottish Parliament in September.

The remarks come as an opinion poll has revealed that Scottish independence is backed more strongly in the rest of the UK than in Scotland itself.

According to the poll results, only 29 percent of Scottish adults back independence, compared with 41 percent in England and Wales.

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