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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Third sector rejects devolution promises

This news post is over 9 years old

People working in Scotland's third sector say enhanced devolution promises from Cameron and Clegg don't provide the best future for Scotland

Scotland’s third sector has rejected promises from the UK prime minister and deputy prime minister that a no vote in the referendum will mean greater devolution for Scotland.

Following Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Scotland last week, a TFN poll asked whether yes, no or enhanced devolution would be the best option for Scotland’s third sector.

It revealed overwhelming support for a yes vote.

Third Sector Yes holds to the principle that autonomy and self-determination are the building blocks of a fairer, just and equitable society which only yes will provide the starting point

Third Sector Yes, the body set up to promote the advantages of a yes vote for the third sector, has questioned Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s assertion this week that a no vote on 18 September will be followed by more powers for Holyrood.

Speaking on behalf of Third Sector Yes, Eliot Stark told TFN: “We have two fundamental problems with the vague promises of further devolution. The first is that history tells us it probably won’t be delivered.

“The second is that we don’t think it makes sense for the third sector in any case. The referendum is based only on two answers, yes and no. Enhanced devolution plays no part in the ballot and this was the choice of the Better Together coalition inclusive of the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

“Third Sector Yes holds to the principle that autonomy and self-determination are the building blocks of a fairer, just and equitable society which only yes will provide the starting point.”

TFN’s poll asks whether the status quo, enhanced devolution or full independence offers the best future for the third sector. As TFN went to press, it was sitting at 83% for independence, 14% for enhanced devolution and just 3% for the status quo.

Readers’ comments backed the findings: “The core question is would you rather spend money on nuclear weapons and illegal wars or on creating a socially and environmentally just society? It’s a no-brainer for those in the third sector. Voting yes is the only way to deliver that,” said Jim Bennett.

Others entering the debate on Facebook, however, argued that the best option for the third sector would be constitutional change at Westminster.

“The yes/no divide fails to address the fundamental and underlying mis/under representation in our democracy and the problems of both Scottish and Westminster government,” said Simon Jackdle.

“First past the post is no way to decide a government and we need to keep working hard to ensure our voices are heard in both Westminster and Scotland. Independence on its own won’t fix these underlying flaws, only a real change will.”

Currently, there is no body representing those in the third sector who oppose independence.

However, a Better Together spokesman responding to Third Sector Yes and TFN’s poll said: “All three Scottish parties who want Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom are committed to devolution and greater powers for the Scottish Parliament.

“The only way to strengthen devolution is by rejecting separation in September’s referendum.

“We can have the best of both worlds – a strong Scottish Parliament, with the guarantee of more powers for Scotland, backed up by the strength, security and stability of being part of the larger UK. Only separation puts that at risk.”



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over 9 years ago
I'm surprised it's not even higher than 83% in some ways... ! Why would anyone trust whoever might win the next Westminster election to do anything in the interests of Scottish self-government after a No vote? If you want more powers, vote Yes, it's as simple as that.
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over 9 years ago
Is this the poll which I pointed out at the time could be compromised easily? C'mon TFN, we expect better!
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over 9 years ago
JM you have a point in that the poll was just for readers, not a carefully constructed, weighted survey. But the comments underneath it align with the votes - they are often from known people in the sector and almost all are in favour of independence.Alternatively you could try just talking to people in the sector. Almost everyone I know in the sector is voting Yes. This poll sounds about right to me.
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over 9 years ago
The promises are indeed vague. This would be as no one knows who will win the general election in 2015 so how come they can make promises. They are likely to end up in a situation where there could even be a 3 party coalition formed Tory/Labour & UKIP. Now would that not be interesting. Scotland must go it alone as it is the only way forward for this Nation. When devolution came around the voting system was supposed to ensure that no one party would be elected to hold power. That went a bit pear shaped when Scotland returned a landslide majority vote for the party of independence. Hopefully it will go the same way on September the 18th as I believe it will.
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over 9 years ago
Absolutely- in my work, and people i meet from other services and agencies, the majority seem to be in favour of voting for independence. As for service users, much the same. For myself, and the few I have talked to about it, we have agreed that it would help the work that we do, and lead to a fairer and more just society- or at least give us the tools to create that.
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over 9 years ago
The theoretical gains from independence are very attractive for the third sector but there is a substantial risk that the political and economic reality would be significantly different from what we hope and would thoroughly disappoint expectations. The negative side to independence is the breaking up of valuable and reliable partnerships: for example over 50% of the funding of the charity I work for is provided by either UK-wide bodies that will not continue in their current form after independence or English-based trusts. Achieving greater control through devolution would certainly be hard work but seems preferable to taking the extreme road that is independence.