Westminster not trusted to deliver on more powers pledge


  Only a third of people trust Westminster parties to deliver more powers for Scotland, new polling evidence shows today.
When asked: “If the result of the independence referendum was a No vote, do you think that the Westminster political parties could be trusted to deliver any extra powers for the Scottish Parliament?” only 35 per cent answered ‘Yes’. This compared to 43 per cent who answered ‘No’ with 23 percent saying they didn’t know.

The finding, part of a Panelbase poll commissioned by Yes Scotland, was published as the anti-independence parties in Scotland gathered in Edinburgh to make a joint statement about more powers for Holyrood.  However, despite each of the parties setting out their own plans for more powers, they were unable to agree a joint approach in the lead up to the independence referendum.

The failure to produce a joint pro-Union package has led to calls from Reform Scotland, for Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems to pick the ‘best bits and put them together’.

Reform Scotland founded the Devo Plus group over two years ago, calling for the Scottish Parliament to raise most of the money it spends. The group includes senior MSPs from all three pro-UK parties.

Ben Thomson, Chairman of Reform Scotland and Devo Plus said: “The proposals of all five parties, both those supporting independence and those wishing to remain as part of the UK, are welcome in that they will all increase Holyrood’s accountability. However, we believe the pro-UK parties could go much further in presenting a radical, united case to the people of Scotland before the referendum.

“Each party’s proposal has a mixture of radical and timid proposals. Labour lags behind the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats when it comes to devolving fiscal powers. The Conservatives are behind in terms of making the Scottish Parliament permanent. And the Liberal Democrats are timid in their reluctance to devolve additional welfare powers.

“Instead, we want the parties to pick the best bits of all their proposals and put them together.”

Blair Jenkins, Chief Executive of Yes Scotland, described the joint-statement from the three pro-Union parties, which had been trailed in advance, as “inadequate and unconvincing”.

He said empty promises by the anti-independence parties of more powers for the Scottish Parliament were evidence that “the ground is shifting beneath them”.

He added: “They know they are losing the argument and that is the only reason they are now talking about more powers for Holyrood, but these new figures show that only a third of people in Scotland trust them to deliver – and in any event what is being proposed falls far short of what Scotland needs. What we need are powers over job creation, welfare and defence so that we can build a more prosperous, fairer country which is free of nuclear weapons.

“And there are a number of other factors to bear in mind. First, the people who have put their names to this statement on more powers are based at Holyrood, but it wouldn’t be the Scottish Parliament that makes a decision on any enhanced devolution for Scotland; it would be the Westminster Parliament and how likely is that?

“The lessons of the past demonstrate quite clearly that Westminster cannot be trusted to deliver on the promises they have made on extending Scotland’s democracy. All three main Westminster parties have form on this.

“Second, the proposals themselves are contradictory and confusing. I don’t think many people inside the three parties, let alone those outside the parties, understand what exactly is being proposed.

“I believe that as as people focus more and more on this debate they understand that all the decisions about Scotland need to be made here because we are the best people to make them.

“These vague and confusing promises of more powers for Scotland from the No parties are inadequate and unconvincing.”