Referendum countdown: Party leaders in pledge to Scots

Labour leader Ed Miliband has signed the pledgeLabour leader Ed Miliband has signed the pledge
Labour leader Ed Miliband has signed the pledge
The leaders of the three main parties at Westminster have signed a pledge for more powers for Scotland if it rejects independence.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signed the letter promising “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament “delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed” by the three parties.

The Yes campaign said a vote for independence in Thursday’s referendum is the only way to guarantee Scotland gets the powers it needs.

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In the letter, the party leaders say they agree that “the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably across all four nations”.

The joint letter also states: “And because of the continuation of the Barnett allocation for resources and the powers 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.”

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said: “It’s clear that project panic is willing to say anything in the last few days of the campaign to try to halt the Yes momentum - anything except what new powers, if any, they might be willing to offer.

“The reality is that the only way to guarantee Scotland gets all the powers we need to create jobs and protect our NHS is with a Yes vote on Thursday - so that we can use our enormous wealth to create a better and fairer country.”

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Earlier yesterday former prime minister Gordon Brown said new powers for Scotland in the event of a No vote will unite rather than divide the country.

He said three guarantees must be locked in: to guarantee new powers to the Scottish Parliament, to guarantee fairness to Scotland, and to guarantee the power to spend more on the NHS if that is the wish of Scottish people.

It comes after Mr Brown last week set out his proposed schedule for new powers to be transferred north, saying work on it would start immediately after the referendum.

The Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders in Scotland then came together to endorse the timetable for a new transfer of powers from Westminster to Holyrood.

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First Minister Alex Salmond described last week’s united front by the pro-union parties as a “retreading” and “repackaging” of earlier statements.

He said at the time: “It’s totally inadequate, it’s not enough. It’s nothing approaching the powers that Scotland needs to create jobs, to save the health service and build a better society.”