Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

‘Best option for us all’ – Scotland on Sunday

This article by Jeremy Purvis appeared in the Scotland on Sunday

THIS Tuesday will be an important day in the developing debate on Scotland’s constitutional future.

It is clear that a sizeable number of people in Scotland are not looking for independence or the status quo but for the best way for securing a stronger Scotland within the UK, for the long term. The constitutional debate can be an enriched one if it is not simply a contest between separation or no change.

Devo Plus, a cross-party and non-party group, has been formed to develop and promote the concept that both Holyrood and Westminster should be accountable and responsible for raising the money each spends in Scotland. This is important both to allow Scotland to adapt to its unique circumstances, fulfil its potential and promote growth, but also to provide it with a sustainable future within the UK.

This is where, I believe, devo-plus differs from so-called devo-max. Devo-max, a proposal that income from all taxes should be raised in Scotland and the First Minister should send a cheque to London to pay for reserved services, is a recipe for constitutional conflict. Most Scots would see this as an unwelcome development.

The devo-plus proposal will, I believe, be widely welcomed. It was not invented as a compromise; a half-way house between two extremes. It exists as a stand-alone solution to a constitutional problem as the best option for the future of Scotland For several months, Scots have been looking for an answer to their aspirations. On Tuesday they will see the answer begin to take shape.

• Jeremy Purvis is a former MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesman on finance