BRITAIN

Vote ‘No’ to independence and win more autonomy, Scotland told

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 9:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 9:08pm

The British government has pledged to grant Scots more autonomy if they vote to reject independence and stay a part of the United Kingdom.

Scotland votes in a September 18 referendum on whether to break away from the UK.

While polls show Scots are doubtful about separation, the proportion of those supporting independence has increased this year. Many are still undecided.

In an attempt to persuade undecided Scots that they will enjoy greater autonomy if they preserve the union, Alistair Carmichael, the minister responsible for Scotland, promised talks on devolution within weeks of a vote against independence.

"In the event of a 'No' vote, change will come. Scotland's parliament will have more powers," said Carmichael, who was born in the Inner Hebrides.

"If Scots vote to stay within the UK family … only then can we ask those who wanted to leave to set aside their differences with us, work together, and deliver a package of powers around which Scotland can unite."

Scotland already enjoys a large measure of devolution. It has had its own parliament since 1999 with the power to legislate in policy areas such as education, health and the environment.

Polls have shown many Scots would prefer a transfer of further powers instead of independence.

But the Scottish National Party (SNP) said that only independence could guarantee Scots the powers the majority favour.

"David Cameron has totally refused to confirm what, if any, powers might be devolved after a 'No' vote," said SNP lawmaker Linda Fabiani.