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Date: 30 Nov 2007

Scottish public service union to call for coalition around more powers

UNISON, Scotland's public service union, will today (Saturday) agree a call for extended powers for the Scottish Parliament, including an extension of its fiscal powers.

The union's Scottish Council, comprising delegates from Branches across Scotland and meeting in Glasgow today (Saturday), will discuss the issue of extending powers, as a response to the Scottish Government's 'national conversation' Choosing Scotland's Future.

UNISON will also call for other organisations that want to extend powers to come together and build a campaign for this change.

Mike Kirby, UNISON's Scottish Convenor, said "UNISON has felt for some time that the Scottish Parliament needs to have further devolution from Westminster, including an increase in financial powers. With the increase in the level of debate on this issue, we think that now is the time to begin to build a broad consensus of people and groups across Scottish society with similar aims."

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, in addition to extended powers over public borrowing and tax-raising.

Mike Kirby said "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."

Other areas of policy that will be discussed by the union will be, Council Housing, Public service reform (including a response to Edinburgh City Council's announcement of up to 1,000 job cuts.) and the forthcoming 60th Anniversary of the NHS next year.


Note for Editors:-

1)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

2) The meeting of Scottish Branches takes place tomorrow between 10.30am and 1.00pm in the Refectory, Hamish Wood Building, Glasgow Caledonian University.

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)