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STUC 2008



Devolution a dynamic, not an event - debate must cover all options

by John Stevenson

Mike Kirby
Mike Kirby


While welcoming the Scottish Government's ‘National Conversation' on Scotland's future, the STUC will take a lead in calling for a broader Constitutional Convention - like the one that led to the Parliament in the first place - to try to build the greatest consensus between political parties and civic society.

Civil Service union leader Eddie Reilly warned that there was no longer a "settled will of the Scottish people" in terms of how they should be governed and all options had to be up for debate.

This was backed by UNISON Scottish Convenor Mike Kirby. "Devolution is a dynamic, not an event", he said. "There is mounting evidence of an appetite for change wherever your starting point is in this debate."

"For UNISON, we have a current policy of opposition to separation and we would make that argument. But we would also encourage review and debate after 10 years."

"What is clear is that the success of the 1997 referendum demonstrated that real constitutional progress can only be achieved when parties work together", added Mike.

"But it is too important to leave that to politicians. We need the full engagement of civic society".

Mike stressed the differing views on issues like fiscal autonomy. This was a key issue because UNISON members' jobs were funded by the public sector.

"We would have to ensure that fiscal powers - with a complex mix of various forms of taxation and benefits - would deliver the public services we demand", warned Mike.

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