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Ross plans Holyrood transfer to ‘power up Scotland’

Douglas Ross speaking via Zoom on his plans for a power shift

Scottish Tory leadership contender Douglas Ross said he wanted to “power up Scotland” by shifting control of some Holyrood business to local communities.

Mr Ross, delivering a briefing to the media, said there was “far too much centralisation” of power at Holyrood to a small number of ministers.

He said he wanted to take power out of the hands of ministers, but did not specify which functions would be moved or whether they would be transferred to local authorities.

He said his briefing via a Zoom call was to “give a taste” of what his leadership would be about and over the next few days he will announce more details of the ideas he wants to take forward.

He has already indicated that he wants to ensure the focus of power is not confined to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Today he said Nicola Sturgeon had been right about a “power grab”. However, it it had not been performed by the UK Government but by her own.

“Over 13 years too much power has been drawn into the SNP’s hands in Edinburgh and our regions, cities and towns have lost control,” he said.

“For many communities, in the north of Scotland, in the south of Scotland and around the country, Holyrood in Edinburgh seems as distant as Westminster did in the days before devolution.”

The MP for Moray, yesterday declared his intention to replace Jackson Carlaw whose resignation on Thursday came as a surprise to his own party as well as the broader political community.

Mr Ross has gathered the 100-nomination threshold required by party rules and should there be no rivals he could be installed on Wednesday evening.

He is seeking to return to the Holyrood chamber and should he be elected leader this week, Mr Ross has asked former leader Ruth Davidson to lead the party at First Minister’s Questions. Ms Davidson has also been appointed to the House of Lords.

I would think it shameful of any leader in Scotland to not aspire to win

– Douglas Ross

Mr Ross said his ambitions were to form a government and that the 31 seats currently held at Holyrood was more than the SNP held when it was in opposition prior to the 2007 election.

Asked if he felt he could become First Minister at next year’s election he said: “I would think it shameful of any leader in Scotland to not aspire to win… If you don’t have that ambition why should people vote for you?”

On Finance Secretary Kate Forbes’ call for greater borrowing powers, he said “no one can question that the broad shoulders of the United Kingdom and the borrowing that the UK government has made to get us through this pandemic in each part of our four nations has been substantial and has saved livelihoods.

“The list of interventions by the UK government has been significant in every part of Scotland,” he said.

“The risks that come with that level of borrowing is shared across millions of people across the United Kingdom rather than by a far smaller number in Scotland.

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“We have been better with the borrowing powers of the United Kingdom rather than giving greater powers to the Scottish Government.”

Mr Ross said there had been other benefits beyond the borrowing powers of the UK.

“If you look at the reduction in VAT for hospitality, that helps venues in Shetland in the same as those in Cornwall. That shows that the UK government can provide assistance that is matched everywhere… and demands to simply ‘Scotify’ things by the Scottish government take away from the benefits of these schemes.

“People, businesses and industries are grateful for the support they have received from the UK government through Barnett consequentials or directly investing in businesses.”

UPDATE 3 AUG:  Mr Ross said he will deliver a jobs plan for Scotland within 30 days of taking over.

4 Comments to Ross plans Holyrood transfer to ‘power up Scotland’

  1. With respect, the number of people in Scotland who care “what Mr Ross said” is pretty miniscule – and will only lessen as his profile increases.
    He is merely the latest in a long, long line of tenth-rate Unionist politicians who have said they will “destroy/flatten/crush/defeat” the SNP – only to crawl away to don the ermine in that undemocratic mess of the HoL in London, when they inevitably fail.

    Scotland has simply out-grown their brand of feudal, cringeworthy,cap-doffing and subservient “Branch Office” garbage.

    He will not last long.

  2. As published in the letters pages of a few of our local newspapers on Friday:
    Scotland could have coped
    OUR two local MPs – Alister Jack and David Mundell – have joined Boris Johnson and others in proclaiming that Scotland is only getting through the Covid-19 situation due to ‘the broad shoulders of the UK’. When the UK Central Bank (aka The Bank of England) indulges in Quantitative Easing (QE) to print new, additional money to that already in circulation – that money belongs to Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It’s our central bank, not just England’s. If those funds were then distributed across the four nations of the UK, using population share, Scotland would be receiving much more support for Covid-19 than is coming our way – and would be better able to judge how best to spend those funds, and for how long. Furthermore: an independent Scotland would have access to the same type of funding that has allowed Denmark, Finland, Norway and Ireland to put in place more effective Covid-19 spending than has happened in the UK. They were also – as smaller countries (like Scotland) – able to work faster and with better focus than has been the case in a UK ultimately under Westminster ‘control’. It is a total falsehood to suggest that an independent Scotland would be any more constrained than similar sized; similarly developed; independent countries around the world. Time to drop the bluster, Messrs Jack, Mundell, Carlaw and Johnson – you’ve been rumbled. IAN WAUGH Dumfries and Galloway Indy Hub

  3. This bloke has zero chance of forming a government next year. Who exactly does he think will vote for him over and above the existing Tory base which is diminishing in Scotland. He’s not even liked in his constituency where he has a only a 500 majority. He’ll also need to win a Holyrood seat, which is unlikely, so he’ll be selected from the losers pool of list MSPs. As long as Johnson & Cummings are in no10 the Tories have zero chance in Scotland & especially if Ross is the answer.

  4. Perhaps D Ross should be asked why his boss Cummi….sorry…JOHNSON isn’t shifting some control from his government to the other 3 nations instead of grabbing more control.

    In addition, English local authorities have been seeking this transfer of control from WM control to their own hands.

    D Ross should have kept mouth shut as he has merely shoved his other foot into the gaping maws of the S Tories.

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