Scottish independence: UK leaders sign no pledge

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THE leaders of the three main UK parties today signed a pledge of “extensive new powers” for Holyrood if Scotland votes No to independence.

They made the promise after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown set out a guarantee of further 
devolution in a speech at Gilmerton miners’ welfare club.

And in an exclusive interview with the Evening News, Mr Brown ruled out becoming an MSP or joining Alex Salmond’s “Team Scotland” to negotiate independence if there is a Yes vote.

The pledge on more powers included a promise that the final say on how much was spent on the NHS in Scotland would be.

The letter said: “We are agreed that the Scottish Parliament is permanent and that extensive new powers for the parliament will be delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed and announced by our three parties, starting on September 19.”

It went on to say the UK exists to “ensure opportunity and security for all” by sharing resources equitably across all four nations.

And the letter added: “Because of the Barnett allocation for resources and the power of the Scottish Parliament to raise revenue, we can state categorically that the final say on how much is spent on the NHS will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.”

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said despite the promise of a timetable, it was not clear what the “extensive new powers” would consist of and the Westminster leaders disagreed among themselves on that.

She said: “It is treating voters in Scotland with contempt not to say exactly what extra powers we are talking about.

“We have policy control over the health service just now but we don’t have control over our own budget.”