Civic Scotland and business community recognise referendum opportunity

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has welcomed further positive interventions in the debate over Scotland’s constitutional future from civic Scotland and the business community.

Quoted in the Sunday Post, one of country’s leading businessmen Jim McColl welcomed the Scottish Government’s upcoming consultation on Scotland’s constitutional future.

Mr McColl said: “Many of us in business are convinced a prosperous future for this country depends on more powers for the parliament.”

Separately, in a platform article published in the Scotland on Sunday, John Downie, director of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) set out the case for a third option to deliver more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Downie said: “For this discussion or the referendum to be shackled by an overly simplistic yes/no approach would be a travesty for democracy. The referendum must include all the options.”

He added:  “Labour’s position, of seeking more devolution in principle but talking about it after the referendum, simply isn’t credible.

“The reality for Labour and the Liberal Democrats is that defining and arguing for the devo-max position is the best option to get what they apparently want – more powers for the Scottish Parliament and for Scotland to remain in the Union.”

In a rebuff to the Labour party, trade union leaders, churches, the voluntary sector and business are in the final stages of launching a new movement to campaign for a so-called devolution plus or “devo max” option for Holyrood.  The plans are to be formally unveiled later this month, and could greatly increase the chances of the referendum including a question on extending Holyrood’s powers short of full independence.

Commenting, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP said:

“These positive interventions show, not only that business and civic society are relaxed about the debate over our constitutional future, but can see the opportunities offered from securing more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

“There is an incredible contrast between these sensible contributions and the scaremongering we have heard over the last week. These contributions raise the level of debate over Scotland’s constitutional future and raise a challenge for the opposition parties in Scotland.

“While the Westminster parties scaremonger about the referendum, the reality is that business at home and abroad are voting with their feet with full confidence in Scotland’s future by making huge investments here. In recent months, Avaloq, Dell, Gamesa, Amazon and Michelin, to name just a few, have invested in Scotland – and with the full financial and economic powers of independence we can achieve even more.

“The damage to Scotland’s economy is coming from the disastrous policies of the Tory/Lib Dem Westminster government – which is why the UK Government should be amending the Scotland Bill to give the Scottish Parliament the economic and financial powers so that we can boost growth, recovery, and jobs.”