Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Salmond wants more devolved powers

Alex Salmond

Scotland's future in the United Kingdom has once again dominated the political agenda following the week's landslide victory for the Scottish National Party.

First Minister-elect Alex Salmond said Westminster must respect his "overwhelming historic popular mandate" and devolve more powers north of the border, and not interfere with his plans to introduce a referendum on Scottish independence.

Prime Minister David Cameron told Mr Salmond he will not stand in the way of the referendum, and said he will reflect on Mr Salmond's requests for devolution of borrowing powers, corporation tax and the Crown Estate Commission in the meantime.

Mr Salmond has made strengthening the Scotland Bill his top priority in the early years of the new Parliament, but only as a prelude to full independence.

He said: "Even if we gained all of these things it would only give us control over 20% of the revenue base of Scotland.

"Independence would give the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people almost 100% control over the revenue base of Scotland."

However, Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore said he would not support the devolution of corporation tax, and did not believe devolving the Crown Estate was "the right way forward".

However, he confirmed that the Treasury is already working on measures to give Scotland more borrowing powers.

Meanwhile, Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, who said that he was not ruling himself out as the next Scottish Labour leader, said: "This election was not about independence but already it is dominating.

"The only thing that has been talked about over the last two days is the referendum, and if this continues over the next five years what chance do we have. Get it out of the way now."

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