Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

PM urged to detail devolution offer

The First Minister has called on David Cameron to "set out the terms" of his offer of further devolution before the Scottish Government's consultation on an independence referendum ends in May.

The call follows the Prime Minister's visit to Edinburgh on Thursday, during which he said more powers could be handed to Holyrood if voters rejected independence.

The Prime Minister did not explain what the powers could be but argued that the major decision on whether Scotland should leave the Union must be settled first.

Alex Salmond responded by warning that Scots "won't be fooled" by the offer, which Mr Cameron made for the first time. He has called for details of the proposals to be revealed before his Government's consultation finishes on May 11.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "David Cameron himself has now said that more powers for Scotland, beyond the current Scotland Bill, is 'on the table'.

"If he has this card up his sleeve, he has a democratic obligation to put it on the table - and to place it face up, so that the people of Scotland can see what it amounts to."

During his speech on Thursday, Mr Cameron said he was "open to looking at how the devolved settlement can be improved further". He held out the prospect of more powers for the Scottish Parliament just hours before meeting Mr Salmond for talks on the staging of the referendum.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has asked Mr Salmond to explain how he would pay for benefits and pensions if Scotland were to become independent.

Ms Davidson said that in the most recent year for which figures are available, the amount spent on welfare in Scotland was almost three times more than oil and gas revenues.

She said: "This is about sharing resources and standing together with your neighbours and ensuring help is available to the poorest in society. If we are to have a mature debate about Scotland's future, then the onus is on the SNP, who want to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom, to explain how they would continue to ensure our most vulnerable are looked after."


From Belfast Telegraph