UK to promise Scots more powers

Alistair Carmichael
Alistair Carmichael

The British government will start talks on granting Scotland more powers within a month of an independence referendum later this year if Scots choose to stay part of the United Kingdom, a government minister will pledge tomorrow (22 May).

In a speech designed to persuade Scots that they can and will enjoy even greater autonomy if they decide to stay inside the UK, Alistair Carmichael, the minister responsible for Scotland, will issue the government's most detailed promise on greater powers to Scotland so far.

"In the event of a no vote, I will invite the representatives of Scotland's main parties to meet in October to begin that process," Carmichael will say, according to advance extracts of a speech in Glasgow released by his office.

"There will be a Conference on the New Scotland. It will work in the interests of the people of this country. And more powers will come."

Scotland will vote on 18 September on whether to break away from the UK. Opinion polls show most Scots will reject independence even though the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) has made some headway in cutting the "no" side's lead.

Scotland already enjoys a large measure of devolution. It has had its own parliament since 1999 with the power to legislate in policy areas such as education, health and the environment. But polls show many Scots want more powers and favour such a power transfer over outright independence.

Any talks on more powers would be likely to focus on giving Scotland the right to control tax policy and on extending its purview to most or all policy areas apart from defence and foreign affairs. It remains unclear how comprehensive a transfer of powers Britain would be willing to offer, however.

'Project fear'

Politicians from across the spectrum, including Prime Minister David Cameron, have already promised Scotland more, unspecified, powers if it remains in the 307-year-old union.

But the "no" campaign, which includes all three of Britain's main political parties, is anxious to ensure Scots take the promise seriously and feels that setting out a timetable will give such a pledge more weight.

The SNP, which argues Scotland would be fairer and more prosperous on its own, has accused the "no" campaign of running a downbeat "Project Fear," a charge that even some "no" campaigners have said is partly true.

But the British government believes that promising further devolution is a positive argument that could be one of its most effective campaign tools.

"A vote against separating from the United Kingdom is a positive vote to stick with our UK family of nations," Carmichael will say. "But it is also a vote for change within it." 

  • 18 Sept. 2014 : Scottish independence referendum
  • 9 Nov. 2014 : Catalan independence referendum


an european's picture

"A vote against separating from the United Kingdom is a positive vote to stick with our UK family of nations"
Alistair Carmichael is desesperate!
A little bit controversial for UKIP !
Scotland for Independence! Should get out of that anti-democratic UK...

GeorgeMc's picture

It is always interesting to read what others think. It is also good to engage with others who hold different views from your own. It would however be helpful if some basic understanding of the subject was gained thereby allowing sensible comments to be posted and exchanged.

an european's picture

Did Nigel Farage from UKIP help to promote an totally Independent Scottland ?......very silent ...with no answer...

Charles_m's picture

There's no mention of UKIP in this article, so, as usual, I don't know what your'e talking about. Please post in your mother tongue so we can better see what you are trying to say.

an european's picture

Of course there is no UKIP controversial or the Bank of England extortion over (against) the Scottish Independence in this article.

GeorgeMc's picture

If you knew anything at all about Scottish Independence you would recognise that there are huge risks. It is unlikely with your command of English that you have any chance of understanding it in any detail, unless there are comprehensive French articles on the subject.

Try and understand that if a country goes Independent you need your own currency. The reason that the UK government and all the main opposition parties have said that Scotland cannot be guaranteed by the Bank of England is because the financial sector in Scotland represents 1200 percent of Scotlands GDP. Would any reasonable government back a foreign country to that extent? No, I did not think so.

an european's picture

Bullshit !
Apparently leaving the E.U. is not a risk for the U.K. !
But for Scotland it is one ?!!
However Scotland could adopt the Scottish it's own currency or the Euro in 2017 instead being disgusted by english extortions !

@George MC
IT's not as you said 1200% Percent of GDP !! but Public spending per head is about £1,200 a year higher in Scotland than in the UK!!!! ----1200 Pound a YEAR higher---

A huge difference !!!


-UK public borrowing will still be at around £75 billion in 2014–15.
-2014 will be in the middle of a prolonged period of spending cuts. The UK government will be
-planning at least two further years of cuts after the 2014-15 fiscal year.
-things go according to plan, the UK’s structural deficit should be closed by somewhere around
-On the other hand, accumulated national debt will be over 76% of national income in 2014–15 and
still over 74% in 2016
- It will not fall back to pre-crisis levels for a generation.

-Public spending per head is about £1,200 a year higher in
Scotland than in the UK as a whole (about
£11,800 against £10,600 in 2010-11), and is higher across most areas of government activity. This
is despite the fact that household disposable income per head in Scotland is very similar to the UK