Scottish independence: Sturgeon to attack devo-max

NICOLA Sturgeon is to launch a scathing attack on the plans of the main Unionist parties to extend devolution in the event of a No vote.
Sturgeon is set to attack the unionist proposals. Picture: TSPLSturgeon is set to attack the unionist proposals. Picture: TSPL
Sturgeon is set to attack the unionist proposals. Picture: TSPL

In a keynote speech tomorrow, the Deputy First Minister will say the plans “fall short of what Scotland needs” as she uses a speech to the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in Glasgow to dismiss the pledges by parties in the No campaign.

Sturgeon will issue a stark warning to supporters of enhanced devolution that only a Yes vote will deliver more powers for Holyrood as the referendum campaign enters its final 200 days.

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Labour’s devolution commission is expected to back a plan to devolve income tax to Scotland, while the Liberal Democrats have already come out for a transfer of new tax powers from Westminster to Holyrood.

The Scottish Conservatives are examining enhanced devolution through the party’s Strathclyde commission, chaired by former minister Lord Strathclyde.

However, Sturgeon will say the offers from the Unionist parties are “limited” and will leave the bulk of economic powers over Scotland held by Westminster.

She will also suggest the UK Government may not deliver the promise of enhanced devolution in the event of a No vote and will say there is “no way” of guaranteeing the pledges by the Unionists will be delivered.

Sturgeon says: “The opposition political parties in Scotland are working on alternatives to independence. They have each – separately – set up commissions to examine this issue. We expect the final results of their work at their forthcoming party conferences.

“But based on what we already know, it seems clear that they will fall short of what Scotland needs and that they will do so on three key grounds – substance, the lack of a common plan, and the absence of any guarantee on delivery.

She says: “These limited proposals for fiscal devolution mean that responsibility for the vast majority of Scottish taxes would remain with Westminster. Significant economic taxes – notably corporation tax but also oil and gas revenues – would remain with Westminster.”

Sturgeon goes on to claim that a lack of agreement among the Unionist parties on devolution casts additional doubt on whether further devolution would be delivered after a No vote.

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She says: “While it is not surprising that there will be no common offer to the people of Scotland, given that the parties cannot agree amongst, never mind between, themselves, it is nevertheless unacceptable.

“The simple fact is that only a Yes vote will secure the powers Scotland needs.”

Meanwhile, the UK Government’s Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael warned his colleagues within the Unionist parties against complacency as the referendum campaign enters its final 200 days.

He said: “This ballot is not won and the outcome will not be decided until the last vote is cast. Everyone who has a vote should use it – and use it wisely.”