Ex-PM calls for Scots ‘partnership of equals’

Gordon Brown proposes his six "major" constitutional changes to revamp the UK's relationship with Scotland
Gordon Brown proposes his six "major" constitutional changes to revamp the UK's relationship with Scotland
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Gordon Brown has proposed the Scottish Parliament get new powers over income tax as part of a plan to create a “partnership of equals” between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

The former prime minister said the six changes he was proposing would transform the “unitary and centralised” system in the UK.

As part of that, he suggested that the Scottish Parliament should raise about 40 per cent of the money it spends and said giving Holyrood more powers over income tax was the best way to achieve this.

Mr Brown has submitted his proposals to Labour’s devolution commission, which will shortly put forward plans to boost devolution in the event of a No vote in September’s Scottish independence referendum.

In a speech in Glasgow, the former Labour leader said: “We need to build the future of the relationship between Scotland, England and the rest of the United Kingdom.

“I believe there are six constitutional changes we have got to make for a better relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, to turn what I would call a unitary and centralised state of the past into a partnership of equals and one where there is power-sharing across the United Kingdom.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said political parties should meet within 30 days of a No vote in the independence referendum to agree further powers for Scotland. He said politicians should take advantage of the public appetite and momentum for more powers created by the independence referendum to move swiftly towards further devolution.

Scotland is already due to get new powers over income tax from April 2016, when the UK Treasury will deduct 10p from income tax in Scotland and give MSPs the power to decide how to raise cash. Mr Brown wants to see this step go further, making Holyrood ministers more accountable for spending.