Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary Grahame Smith said:
“STUC welcomes today’s announcement that there is to be a distinct Labour pro-devolution campaign. Now that there is a Labour focussed campaign and a commitment to examining the devolution of significant additional tax raising powers, the potential exists to develop thinking and an exchange of ideas across Scotland on further devolution of power in the event of a ‘No’ vote. STUC will engage proactively in this discussion, just as it is prepared to consider the shape of an independent Scotland if ‘Yes’ is the outcome.
“STUC hopes that those in the Labour Party who oppose further devolution will resist the temptation to close down debate, just as those outside the Labour Party who support independence can best serve the Scottish people by allowing Labour to develop its ideas in an atmosphere free of rancour.
“For its part, Labour will only build trust if its Truth Team is seen to be providing balanced and well considered information on the implications of independence.
“STUC’s primary concern in this debate is that a vision of a socially just Scotland is the prism through which both campaigns construct their arguments, and on that front there still remains a long way to go. Both sides remain particularly quiet on the central role which fair employment, decent pay and collective bargaining can play in achieving better economic justice.
“Labour’s Devolution Commission has identified significant additional tax powers which might be devolved in the event of a ‘No’ vote. This is definite progress, though we continue to be supportive of an even wider consideration. The rejection of the devolution of Corporation Tax is however to be welcomed.
“STUC recognises the difficulties associated with the full devolution of welfare and in particular the negative impact this might have on spending for Scotland if oil tax revenues remained a reserved issue. It is nonetheless important to examine whether a more flexible approach to the inter relationship between the Scottish block grant, devolved tax powers and welfare could deliver better service integration and increase the tools available to improve social and equality outcomes. We hope that Labour’s consideration of ‘devolving some cash benefits which match closely with devolved services’ and ‘better service integration’ will allow a continuing debate on welfare powers within a new devolved settlement.
For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100