Speaking today on the launch of the STUC’s final A Just Scotland Report, Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“This report concludes a two year process in which STUC has consulted with members, debated within civil society and engaged with both campaigns and governments across the whole range of policy areas covered by the debate.
“We have spent much of the last two years urging both sides of the debate to recognise and to bring forward arguments to address the fundamental inequalities of wealth and income in society. We have been successful to a degree. But this report concludes that neither of the mainstream referendum campaign groups, nor the respective governments, has been willing to consistently challenge the orthodoxies which have led to the prevailing conditions.
“We have not concluded that an unequivocal case for ‘yes’ or ‘no’ can be made but we have some strong criticisms of different aspects of both cases.
“The 19th of September will be a day to look forwards rather than backwards, we have already organised our first major conference (15th October) and a march and rally (18th October) which will allow our members and Scotland’s communities to come together, irrespective of the result and to reaffirm our commitment to achieving social and economic change.”
Notes: STUC October events: http://www.ajustscotland.org/
The main conclusions of the 3rd ‘A Just Scotland’ report are
Whilst the STUC believes that following a yes vote negotiations would inevitably include a potential formal currency union, it remains of the view that the Scottish Government’s case for a formal currency union with rUK post-independence is weak. It is also disappointing that the Scottish Government has been so reticent in discussing the implications of other currency options.
None of the questions about the potential threat to the NHS in Scotland from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIPP) have been fully resolved and whilst it is wrong to overstate the risk to Scotland’s NHS, it does not appear possible to discount this specific threat.
The respective campaigns, governments and political parties have little to say about the key issues of pay; better quality jobs; employment regulation and challenging corporate employment culture? in addition, unions and their members know little of what to expect from the different visions of Scotland’s future being proposed by advocates of Yes and No?
Scotland's Relative Fiscal Balance
As both sides have relied upon their own exaggerated predictions on fiscal balance, rather than the use of additional revenue raising to justify their respective positions, the question of how tax might be used for the purposes of redistribution and/or social security policy might be pursued to enhance cohesion and employment has been largely absent from the debate. This is nothing other than a repeat of existing orthodoxies and a tacit admission that neither side believes, or is willing to argue, that there must be an alternative approach to taxation if redistribution is to be achieved.
While the Scottish Government has exuded confidence that the necessary agreements will be reached at EU and UK levels over solvency requirements for defined benefit pension schemes across national borders, the absence of such an agreement, together with concerns about the denomination in which occupational pensions will be paid, remains for some a substantial disincentive to choose independence.
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