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People not politicians must test new powers

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NUS Scotland responds to Smith Commission

A citizen-led constitutional convention has been called for to ensure new devolved powers work in Scotland.

The call comes as the Smith Commission published its report into enhanced devolution for the country.

New powers announced include the ability to introduce votes at 16; power over income tax; the ability to introduce fair representation on public bodies; and, additional powers over some welfare benefits.

Student body NUS Scotland is now calling on all parties to ensure Scottish society “leads the next steps” to maximise these powers.

It also calls for further concessions including immigration and the ability to allow international students to remain in Scotland, post-graduation, to work.

Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said: “The independence referendum gave us a clear result, but it’s equally clear that people on all sides were voting for change. While they could have gone further, these recommendations are a positive step forward for the powers the Scottish Parliament should have.

We must now see these powers used to shape Scotland into a more equal and more progressive society

“We must now test these proposals against the will of the people, through a citizens-led constitutional convention, so that we can now build the new Scotland and the new democracy we need to see.

“It’s great to see further powers for the Scottish Parliament over votes at 16.

"Equally, it’s great to see some further powers over equalities issues, and the ability to ensure fair representation on our public bodies, income tax and welfare – all powers NUS Scotland have called for."

These powers must be used to shape Scotland into a more equal and more progressive society, Maloney said.

“There’s also additional areas we need to explore, such as the further possibilities for immigration, particularly around post-study work visas for international students," he added.

The referendum produced a huge democratic renewal in Scotland, said Maloney, and people, not politicians, must now lead the next steps for Scotland.

He continued: “We’ll be working with STUC, SCVO and others across civil society for a citizens-led constitutional convention to test these proposals against the will of the Scottish people.”



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