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ref date:16 May 1997 (SI)
Autumn referendums for Scots and Welsh

Ministers expect the necessary referenda bills to be law by July with the votes themselves being cast in Scotland on either Sept 11 or 18, with Wales probably voting on Sept 25.

Labour party ministers fear that a high pwer Tory anti-constitutioanl vote campaign in Scotland could also wreck the plans laid by Labour for Wales,which voted overwhelmingly against the devolution plans of the last Labour government in the 1979 referendum.

The six-clause Referendums Bill received its first reading on May 15 1997 was short to 'encourage' debate, rather than get tied into much detail.

In a departure from normal bill passage, the second bill reading would be handled entirely on the floor of parliament instead of in committee

Tory lords in the house of lords said they would not attempt to block the bill as it was in the Labour manifesto that carried Labour to victory earlier in May 1997.

Assuming the referenda were positive in outcome, the Scottish parliament member would be elected during Spring 1999. However no public funds would be released for the referendum campaign....

In Scotland the question about a Scottish Parliament will be accompanied by a second ballot paper on the Government's proposals to give it powers to vary the rate of income tax by up to 3p.

The choice will be between "I agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers" or "I do not agree that a Scottish Parliament should have tax-varying powers." A simple majority of 50 per cent plus one will suffice for the next stage of the legislation to be introduced.