Scottish Secretary supporting Calman

SCOTTISH Secretary Michael Moore today affirms that the Calman plans to reform the Scottish parliament are the only realistic proposals out there, despite existing Lib Dem plans for more radical tax-raising measures.

Moore declares in an article for Scotland on Sunday that while other models for a strengthened Holyrood exist, they are at present "theoretical" because they do not command cross-party support and have not been properly examined.

"Right now the choice to make is Calman," he declares. He revealed that Treasury officials will begin work tomorrow on implementing the Calman plans, under which further tax raising powers will be handed over to MSPs in Edinburgh.

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The Calman proposals came out of a cross-party agreement between Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems last year. Prior to that, however, the Lib Dems had published more radical reforms.

Earlier this summer, Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott said that Calman "does not represent the finishing line for Liberal Democrats". He went on: "I want to see Calman Plus emerge from the work the Scottish Secretary started."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Lib Dems said last night there was no difference in Moore and Scott's views. "If we had a purely Liberal Democrat government then you would have a federal UK and all that goes with it. However, we have got cross party agreement for Calman and Michael and Tavish both agree that is the way forward."

Yesterday, members of the expert group that advised the Calman Commission poured doubt on whether "Calman Plus" or financial independence for Scotland would work, warning it could lead to higher taxes.

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