UNISON today launched a set of policy proposals calling for fresh powers, including pensions and income tax, to be devolved to Scotland.
The union’s ‘Fairer Scotland and devolution’ document opens up a debate which has so far focused on fiscal issues and argues that new devolved powers for the Scottish parliament are essential to create a Fairer Scotland and improve the lives of working people.
UNISON Scotland says a range of fresh powers should be devolved: public sector pensions, health and safety, labour market regulation and broadcasting – as well as stronger fiscal powers, including all of income tax revenue.
The focus for UNISON of decisions about which powers to devolve and which to leave at UK level is social change and the creation of a more equal society.
Lilian Macer, Convener of UNISON Scotland said: “Our union hasn’t made a decision about which option to back in the referendum - but we are intent on putting public services and the people who provide them at the centre of the debate.”
In common with much of the trade union movement, UNISON has not as yet taken a stance on the referendum itself. Instead the union has challenged all parties to the debate to explain how their preferred option will match UNISON’s priorities laid out in the previously published document ‘A Fairer Scotland’.
Today’s publication marks a development of longstanding UNISON principles in relation to devolving power to the lowest practical level, and includes devolution below the Scottish Parliament, with a stronger statutory footing for local authorities.
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary said: “We have always been strong supporters of devolution - and supporters of strong devolution. As political campaigns and parties are discussing more powers for the Parliament we want to make sure we are part of this debate.
“Our concern isn’t with constitutional mechanics. Our aim is to create a fairer and more equal Scotland. The referendum debate so far has focused on fiscal matters. These fresh new powers which we are calling for should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and used – along with the many existing powers it already has – to improve the lives of working people.”