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    Devo Plus response to “Scotland's Economy: the case for independence

    Responding to today’s launch of a Scottish government paper entitled “Scotland's Economy: the case for independence”, Ben Thomson, Chairman of Reform Scotland and the Devo Plus group, said:

    “We have always taken the view that increased financial responsibility for Scotland is a good thing – it will lead to better decision-making and better decisions for Scotland.  Further, it would give Scotland the policy levers to create the right framework for growth and new jobs recognising the Scottish economy is different from other parts of the UK.

    “However, of the six suggested problems highlighted by the Scottish government, five of them could be addressed under Reform Scotland’s model for devolution plus which has been developed and promoted by the Devo Plus group without the need to leave the Union and  the sixth would be hard to achieve if the UK remained part of a Sterling currency zone. 

    "Devo Plus would give the Scottish Parliament substantially greater fiscal, borrowing and welfare powers whilst remaining a part of the United Kingdom giving politicians  at Holyrood real financial responsibility for raising the revenue that they spend."


    The case for Devo Plus is now even more relevant on the historic agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments on the referendum, leader of the cross party Devo Plus group Jeremy Purvis commented:

    “As all the parties now agree, the time for discussing process is over and the issue now is to address substance. This makes the case for Devo Plus even more relevant.
    “Since our launch in February, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have indicated their openness to further powers, so it now appears that the real question in 2014 will be a straight question between independence and a form of Devo Plus.
    “For the result of the referendum to be decisive, those that do not support independence can now come together with Devo Plus for a long-term solution that provides a clear choice in the referendum and settles this for a generation.
    “This means making this clear ahead of the vote and obtaining a consensus that is capable of delivery after the referendum.” 


    Responding to the proposed meeting between the Prime Minister and the First Minister on the referendum, Jeremy Purvis, leader of the cross party Devo Plus group said:

    “We are pleased that agreement has been reached on the process, now the issue is the substance Devo Plus offers the best way forward for a permanent Scottish Parliament within the UK, with powers to raise the majority of its revenue and be accountable to the people for Scotland for decisions made in their name. Our widely respected second report has also showed how further welfare reform can be made to retain the benefits of the UK welfare state but deliver better social outcomes in Scotland.

    This way forward is increasingly forming the substance of the debate.

     Devo Plus will continue to play a very constructive role with the political parties and others in offering the best way for them to coalesce around and agreed position in advance of the vote in 2014.  The publication of the Campbell Commission report from the Scottish Liberal Democrats will be very welcome and should support much of the work Devo Plus has been promoting.  Likewise the Labour commission on further devolution will be looking at the work done by Devo Plus both on fiscal powers and benefits.

    Our forthcoming third report, A New Union, will show how Devo Plus can be delivered during the lifetime of the next Parliament – this is the only piece of work showing this; it will also outline how political agreement could be formed in advance of the referendum vote to provide real comfort to voters that further devolution will delivered under a no vote; finally it will show what the permanent long term settlement should for Scotland within the UK in order that this is settled for the long term.

    With a straight Yes/ No referendum people need to be aware of what the consequences of their vote will be. Devo Plus provides for the strongest basis for a clear choice:  whether Scotland remains within the UK, with greater accountability to the people, permanent and settled for generations to come or leaves the UK and becomes a separate state. “ 


    With the developing work of Devo Plus has come greater UK, European and international interest in our proposals.

    Recently Devo Plus has taken part in high level events in Cardiff to discuss with academics, politicians and opinion formers our proposals, and in London with representatives from the Catalan and Quebec provincial governments.

    Interest from international TV such as Russia Today, and academic enquiries in the EU suggest our model is gaining wide interest among those now viewing the constitutional debate wihin Scotland.

    Because Devo Plus is founded on strong principles of governance, its proposals for Scotland offer much for a wider audience interested in the Scottish debate.


    Focus now needs to be on substance of vote in referendum

    Responding to the reported agreement between the Scottish and UK Governments on the process of the referendum on independence, leader of the Devo Plus group Jeremy Purvis commented:

    “The news that agreement has been reached on the process is positive and means we can finally move on to the substance of what the consequences of a Yes or No vote will be on the single question.

    Our reports on finance, and how we can improve on social outcomes in Scotland, show the need to strengthen the Scottish Parliament within the UK; improving accountability and its ability to deliver better outcomes. Devo Plus’s work has shown how parties that oppose independence can coalesce around a set of considered proposals. Our forthcoming third report will map out exactly how we can get to the end point of devolution – the long term relationship between Scotland and the rest the UK.

    This referendum should decide our future for a generation and that is why we have issued the challenge to each side to spell exactly what a Yes or a No vote will mean.

    The strongest case for a clear No is that people understand that there is an agreement on the way forward for Devo Plus, and we will continue to work with the parties, and people and groups outside party politics, to build consensus around the clear Devo Plus approach.

    If this is done then we believe that the most powerful case will be made for a stronger, more accountable Scottish Parliament, better delivery of social outcomes, and a relationship between Scotland and the UK that does not need to be revisited time and again.”