Scottish independence: Labour and unions join in ‘Red Paper’ group backing devo-plus for equality
A CAMPAIGN for a major transfer of powers to Holyrood to allow the parliament to “attack inequality and poverty and redistribute wealth” is to be called for by senior trade union and Scottish Labour figures later today.
The group is known as the “Red Paper collective” is being headed up Labour frontbencher Neil Findlay.
The group aims to focus on what any new powers for Holy-rood could be used for, but is understood to back the devolution of powers to allow MSPs to increase the minimum wage, put up taxes for top earners and halt privatisations.
Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish, who favours full financial powers for the Scottish Parliament, has praised the intervention as “timely and important”.
The campaign is being promoted as a Labour and trade-union backed alternative to the high-profile campaign for devolving most tax powers to Scotland – known as devo-plus, which is heavily financed by big business.
A pamphlet entitled “Scotland‘s future: Power for Scotland’s People – a labour movement view” has already been published by the group.
Mr Findlay, a shadow minister for learning and skills, said key demands of the campaign would include powers to challenge privatisations influenced by the European Union and the Tory-led UK coalition government.
“The debate has to move on to the type of society we want to create,” Mr Findlay has said.
“If more powers are going to be devolved they have to be powers that deliver social justice, attack inequality and poverty and redistribute wealth.
“If we replace one group of right-wing policy-makers and bankers in London for another group of right-wing policy-makers and bankers in Edinburgh, what will we have achieved for working people?
“We hope this pamphlet contributes to the bigger debate we all need to have.”
The pamphlet issued by the group warns it is “misleading” to claim that the concept of independence promoted by the SNP would result in the break up of the British state and allow Scotland to follow a different economic path.
“The fact is that Scotland is in a highly advanced state of economic and monetary union with the rest of the UK,” it states.
The SNP plans would only serve to place economic and monetary policy beyond the “democratic influence” of Scots, the pamphlet adds.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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