Opposition leaders vow more powers for Holyrood

Parties with the Better Together campaign have promised of bigger say on tax and welfare. Picture: JP
Parties with the Better Together campaign have promised of bigger say on tax and welfare. Picture: JP
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THE leaders of Scotland’s three main opposition parties will tomorrow issue a joint statement committing their parties to transferring more powers to Holyrood in the event of a No vote.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems will pledge that more tax powers on top of those already in the pipeline and some control over welfare will come into force should Scotland vote against ­independence.

Johann Lamont of Labour, Ruth Davidson, of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats’ Willie Rennie will make a “statement of intent” for further devolution.

However, they will stop short of producing a joint blueprint outlining the precise package of powers to be ­offered after the referendum.

All three pro-Union parties have produced their visions of how more powers could be given to Holyrood.

Although each party’s conclusions differ in the detail, there is a growing consensus over further devolution of ­income tax and some welfare payments, such as housing ­benefit.

A joint article signed by all three leaders published in today’s Scotland on Sunday, says: “All three of our parties have now backed a further extension of powers at Holyrood. And while the details of our plans differ, they all include a commitment to drive more taxation and social protection to Holyrood.

“We all believe that the parliament needs to have more ­responsibility over the money it raises, not just the money it spends, in order to create more mature politics in Scotland.”

However, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani claimed the only way to secure more powers was by voting Yes.

Fabiani said: “The acceptance across the political spectrum that Scotland needs more powers is galvanising the Yes vote – with three polls in recent days showing Yes support well up.”

“The Westminster parties talk about new powers, but they can’t be relied on to ­deliver them – and they fall far short of what Scotland needs.

“Only a Yes vote in September guarantees that Scotland will get all the powers over the economy and welfare that we need to grow our economy and create a fairer society.

“Just last week [Scottish Secretary] Alistair Carmichael let the cat out of the bag and admitted that there are no new powers guaranteed to come from Westminster after a No vote.”

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