Jeremy Purvis – Leader, Devo Plus Group
Scotland needs the debate on its constitutional future to be about how it affects people. Our report, Improving Social Outcomes in Scotland, is focused on how we deliver improved outcomes for people across the country.
It is sobering to see that for many social outcomes we are performing worse than in 1999. In the vast majority of these areas the policy issues are completely devolved so an argument on independence is not relevant. Rather, it is important to consider how we secure better delivery.
Devolution has been a success in a great number of areas but the settlement of 1999 needs to be strengthened within the UK. Our approach would provide for the ability for greater tax incentives or redistribution should they be desired in order to support wider social policy objectives. Our analysis shows that this is needed to tackle deep rooted social issues.
Our report also provides an assessment of how some wider welfare devolution can be made, while making the case for a UK structure for pension, employment, disability and maternity protection.
The proposals are well considered, measured and deliverable. More importantly, if we are to see the improved social outcomes in Scotland that we would all like, and the country needs, then Devo Plus should provide the basis of crossparty agreement.