Nick Clegg: Lib Dems would back more Scots powers

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Pic: Robert Perry
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Pic: Robert Perry
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The Liberal Democrats will “act as the guarantors” of more powers for Scotland if it rejects independence, Nick Clegg was due to say on a visit to Edinburgh today.

But any final settlement would have to be negotiated with the other pro-UK parties, businesses, civic Scotland and the SNP if it is willing to embrace devolution, he will add. Lib Dems want Holyrood to raise half of its own revenue and set its own rates of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. But Mr Clegg, the party’s UK leader, said their proposals “are not the final word”, with Labour’s offering already on the table and the Conservatives due to publish their own devolution proposals in the next few weeks.

Mr Clegg was expected to tell a meeting hosted by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce: “The story of devolution – the journey to home rule – is not yet complete.

“If people in Scotland want to further cut the income tax burden on middle-income earners, that should be a choice for them.

“If they want to raise it in order to take less from lower earners, again they should be free to do so. If they elect a parliament whose wish is to cut or increase capital gains tax, inheritance tax, or spending on schools and hospitals, so be it.”

Meanwhile, a poll shows 40 per cent of 16 and 17 year-olds think their parents would be worse off under independence.