Scotland says No

by Richard Meade
Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scotland

"Scottish independence referendum results" by Sceptre - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
"Scottish independence referendum results" by Sceptre. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Scotland has decided and it has voted No to becoming an independent country.

With the final vote declared just after 8am this morning the No vote secured 2,001,926 votes (55%) compared to 1,617,989 votes (45%) for Yes. All the pundits had suggested that it was going to be close, but in the end there was clear water between the two campaigns. The No campaign won 28 out of the 32 local authorities. Turnout was phenomenally high with 84% of registered voters turning out to vote with some polling stations reporting a 100% turnout.

What happens now?

So, the big question that now faces Scotland is what happens now? The last few weeks of the campaign have seen the No Thanks campaign reaffirm their commitment to offering more powers to Scotland, as well as offer a timescale for delivery. That timescale was offered by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and supported by the party leaders of each of the main UK parties, including the Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Brown plan set out in a timetable, which he claimed will start today, will see a debate in Westminster on the 16 October, a white paper in November and a draft Bill developed for a first reading in Westminster by 25 January 2015.

The three main Westminster parties all set out plans for greater power for Scotland in the event of the No vote, which will form the basis of the discussions. SNP leaders have also indicated that they will now take part in these discussions too.

What it means for Marie Curie

In terms of Marie Curie, NHS and social care are currently devolved to the Scottish Parliament, so much of our day-to-day activity will continue as before. However, the possibility of further revenue raising powers and the devolution of powers on welfare may have an impact on the charity in the future.

The question now is what exactly will make it into the final proposals that will be put forward to the Westminster Parliament for approval. This morning the David Cameron, reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to further powers and has appointed Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chair of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, to oversee the process of further devolution. At the same time he has also promised to consider further powers for the rest of the United Kingdom, including looking for a ‘decisive answer on the West Lothian question’. Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague, has been tasked with leading this work.

There has been some disquiet among back bench MPs, who may look to block these proposals, but it seems that these are small in number at present. There have also been questions raised over the short timeframe and the difficulties that an upcoming general election might have.

However, it does seem that the referendum campaign will bring change to Scotland and perhaps to the rest of the UK too.

Current proposals from the Scottish Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties for further powers in Scotland can be seen here: