‘Constitution could protect independent Scotland’

INDEPENDENCE could protect Scots from controversial policies such as the Bedroom Tax, a leader of the newly launched charity sector Yes campaign has claimed.

A written constitution in an independent Scotland could protect people from controversial policies, Mark Bevan has claimed. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Writing in The Scotsman tomorrow, Mark Bevan of the Third Sector Yes campaign suggests that an independent Scotland could have a written constitution that could “offer very real protection” to vulnerable people from controversial welfare cuts.

The claim from Mr Bevan, a former senior official with human rights group Amnesty in Scotland, came ahead of tomorrow’s pro-independence charity campaign launch.

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Politicians in an independent Scotland would “for all time be constrained” in imposing controversial policies on vulnerable Scots due to the existence of a written constitution, he writes.

The charity campaigner talks about how a written constitution would be the “great prize” of independence by guaranteeing the human rights of Scots in law that Holyrood would be unable to scrap.

Mr Bevan criticises the absence of a written constitution in the UK as he claims a set of human rights enshrined in law would should be the “jewel in the crown” of a modern society.

He highlights the example of Germany, where he said the nation’s Constitutional Court had blocked controversial welfare cuts that were “deemed unconstitutional”.

Mr Bevan said that an independent Scotland could follow a similar model as he writes “What’s that got to do with us? Think bedroom tax.

Think of people choosing between heating homes and buying food, in Scotland, today”.

The Third Sector Yes campaign claims on its website that charities would be better off under independence, which it said would deliver a “more equal, more compassionate, more communitarian, more sustainable Scotland”.

The campaign described itself as a “group of people who are involved the third sector and are keen to build support for a Yes vote next year”.

Care for vulnerable Scots, the reduction of poverty and greater equality would have a “greater chance of being addressed” under independence, the group’s claims on its website.

Meanwhile, Mr Bevan claims that the Scottish Parliament already has greater human rights safeguards than Westminster.

He said that the Scotland Act that created the Scottish Parliament limited the powers of the legislature by writing the Human Rights Act into law north of the border.

Holyrood would have to “test any new legislation” against the act with laws that threaten human rights potentially blocked.

However, Labour MSP Richard Baker, a director of the anti-independence Better Together campaign, claimed that the SNP would be unable to guarantee better welfare provision in the event of a Yes vote.

Mr Baker said: “It’s clear that the SNP’s sums don’t add up in terms of the economy after independence and it’s hard to give guarantees on future welfare spending because of this.”