Devo Plus can give Scotland the powers it needs
Devo Plus, the cross-party group advocating significant further powers for the Scottish Parliament, has called its solution “the best option for Scotland” ahead of a speech by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
Devo Plus is a well defined proposal for greater fiscal and welfare powers for Scotland which would result in Holyrood being responsible for the majority of what it spends.
The Devo Plus group includes amongst its membership Labour’s Duncan McNeil MSP, Alex Fergusson MSP from the Conservatives, and Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott.
All three unionist parties have been looking at proposals for greater fiscal powers similar to Devo Plus. It should not be confused with Devo Max, a proposal put forward as an alternative to Independence which envisages all public sector revenue raised in Scotland with a fee being paid to Westminster for services such as defence and banking regulation. Such a proposal is not supported by any of the unionist parties and has the potential to create real conflicts with Westminster.
Devo Plus has been engaged with all three pro-UK parties to consider The Glasgow Agreement, which would allow them to unite with a joint offer to the Scottish people that Holyrood should raise at least half of what it spends.
Commenting, Ben Thomson, Chairman of Devo Plus, said:
“Nicola Sturgeon is quite right to advocate forcefully her belief in full independence, however the reality is that most of the requirements she outlines can also be delivered by Devo Plus within the current Union.
“The most recent example, following Willie Walsh’s comments, was the potential abolition of Air Passenger Duty. That doesn’t need independence – it needs Devo Plus.
“It is inevitable that the pro-UK parties will not agree on every dot and comma of what powers should be devolved, but the Glasgow Agreement allows them to tell the people of Scotland the outline terms of what further devolution would look like.
“The parties all say they agree with the principle of delivering more devolution – frankly it’s time they stopped faffing about and made a joint commitment.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Devo Plus is a cross-party, non-party group, set up by the think tank Reform Scotland, which includes former Liberal Democrat Leader Tavish Scott MSP, former Presiding Officer and Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson (who sits on the Scottish Conservative Strathclyde Commission) and Health Committee Convenor and Labour MSP, Duncan McNeill (who also sits on Scottish Labour’s Devolution Commission).
2. The current proposed Glasgow Agreement can be downloaded here.