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Date:14 August 2007

UNISON ready for constitutional debate - Union's response to independence consultation

In an initial response to the Scottish Executive's consultation on independence, UNISON, Scotland's public service union, today said that while an independence referendum was unlikely the importance of the constitutional consultation was the opportunity it gave to discuss the possibility of further powers being transferred to Holyrood.

At a meeting of the union's Scottish Committee in Glasgow today, Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary, said "UNISON has always accepted that devolution is a process, not an event. Whatever the fate of the referendum debate within Holyrood this consultation is an opportune moment to discuss further devolution of some powers."

The union is planning to respond to the consultation and take the opportunity to raise powers that they feel should be considered to be added to those of the Scottish Parliament. Amongst those reserved issues UNISON wants to see decided in Edinburgh, are equal opportunities, energy, and broadcasting, and the union also feels that there is potential for some further devolution on immigration, and public sector pensions.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor said "It should be remembered that devolution means that we should look at the powers of Holyrood from time-to-time. After two full terms of the Scottish Parliament, this seems like a good opportunity to do so, and we will be discussing with our branches and members what they consider could usefully be decided both in Edinburgh and more locally."


Note for Editors:- UNISON is Scotland's largest public service union, representing well over 160,000 workers working in Scotland's public services. It has long been a strong supporter of devolution and opposed to breaking up the UK. The union's Devolution - the next stage is available on the UNISON website on http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/policies/devolution.html

For Further Information Please Contact: Mike Kirby (Scottish Convenor) 07803 952 261(m) Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997 (m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)