British politicians are scrambling to offer Scotland greater autonomy ahead of an upcoming independence referendum, in what is seen as a last-ditch effort to dissuade Scots from voting to break away from the UK.
Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday announced plans for new measures granting the Scottish parliament more powers if Scotland votes “no” to independence.
Brown promised that “plans to deliver the enhanced devolution” to Scots would kick off the day after they vote to reject the referendum, with draft legislation on greater taxation and spending powers ready first next January.
The former prime minister added that the planned measures are backed by the three main political parties in the British parliament.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond responded to the announcement, saying Brown’s promises are nothing new and show panic among the pro-unionists.
“This is a ridiculous position being put forward by a campaign in terminal trouble,” said Salmond, adding, “All that’s happening now is that people like George Osborne, David Cameron, Ed Miliband – the whole Westminster elite – are losing the referendum campaign, and the people of Scotland are winning it. We’ve got them on the run.”
This comes as a YouGov poll presented on September 7 showed support for Scotland’s independence at 51 percent, compared with 49 percent in favor of remaining in the union.
The poll result sent the British Sterling tumbling to a ten-month low amid uncertainty about the UK’s economic future.
Scotland will hold a national referendum on September 18 to determine the country’s future. The independence referendum could result in Scotland’s breakaway from the United Kingdom after more than 300 years of political union.