Brown outlines vision for improved UK union

SCOTLAND should raise more of its own income, but stick with a UK-based pension and social security system, according to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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Mr Brown, speaking at a Labour Party event in Glasgow, said the security of the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK was in the best interests of Scotland.

He laid out his plans for a new constitutional relationship for Scotland in the UK following a no vote in the independence referendum.

His six point plan has been submitted to Labour's Devolution Commission, which is due to report its proposals next month.

Mr Brown's plan includes

lA statement of purpose for the UK that resources are to be shared.

lThat the Scottish Parliament is constitutionally permanent.

lA new structure of decision making with more powers for Holyrood in some welfare aspects, transport and employment.

lA tax sharing system where some polices are UK funded and others in Scotland from tax raised in Scotland.

lPower sharing partnerships for areas where responsibilities overlap, like employment, housing and poverty.

lTransfer of powers to local communities and greater devolution to councils particularly for local jobs initiatives.

He said Scots from the Labour movement had been at the forefront of socially progressive polices from the welfare state to the National Minimum Wage.

Mr Brown said: "We want to separate Scotland, not from the UK but from poverty. We want people freed from deprivation and homelessness not from our neighbours.

"We say it makes sense for Scotland to work with the UK and Europe and the world to achieve common ends.

"It is not the end of Britain we want. It is the end of poverty, unemployment and hardship."

Mr Brown said his plan was for a new union in which Britain must change too.

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the pro-independence Yes Scotland group said: "If Gordon Brown thinks that these ideas are so good, why on earth did he do nothing to implement them when he was Prime Minister?

"It's been a long time since the UK was genuinely about pooling and sharing resources. Under successive Labour and Tory governments, Westminster policy has consisted of an ever-increasing concentration of wealth and job opportunities in London and the south-east, and a growing gap between rich and poor."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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