The Scottish Government has hinted that it is likely any referendum on independence will offer three choices to the Scottish electorate; independence, the status quo and some middle option. We believe ‘Devolution plus’ is the first major attempt since the election to set out exactly what this third option could look like.
Reform Scotland’s proposals recommend a structure that will shift the responsibility for raising revenue to create a much more even balance between Holyrood and Westminster which gives both governments an incentive to act more responsibly within their respective areas of power. The result is that this proposal completely removes the need for the block grant as each level of government has their own powers to fund their respective Scottish expenditure.
In addition, we have recommended a significant shift in responsibility for elements of welfare from Westminster to Holyrood. Many policy areas associated with alleviating poverty, such as social inclusion and housing, are already devolved. Therefore, we believe that by giving the Scottish Parliament responsibility for a number of major welfare benefits a more coherent and effective approach can be adopted.
We believe that the model set out in this publication will create an environment which will encourage policies that enable our economy to grow and improve our public services, whilst leaving Westminster with appropriate tax powers to enable it to act not just in the interests of Scotland, but the whole of the UK.