‘UK 2070: An Inquiry into Regional Inequalities Towards a Framework for Action’ makes a number of notable remarks relevant to Talking-up Scotland!
But before detailing them it’s worth reflecting on this from the report: it’s a sobering reality check on the Union in which Scotland is stuck (for now):
“UK 2070 Commission is an independent inquiry into the deep–rooted spatial inequalities within the United Kingdom. There is no longer any real debate about the scale of these inequalities. Whether in terms of health, housing or productivity, it is now accepted that the UK is one of the most regionally imbalanced economies in the industrialised world.
Inequality blights the prospects of future generations of the UK. Unless there are fundamental changes these disparities will grow. This means that the economic potential of large parts of the UK is not being realised, creating an imbalance of wealth and opportunity. It also leads to enormous housing, transport and environmental pressures on London and the Wider South East. As a result, nobody is winning.”
So despite this, are we still better together in a Union that is blighting the prospects of future generations – really? Older voters in Scotland who are still against our independence might reflect on the above description.
Older ‘no’ voters in particular might also take stock of the Commission’s detailed, damning critique of Westminster governance over many years, and its apparent inability – or unwillingness – to introduce fundamental change. Scotland suffers from Westminster governance despite best efforts at Holyrood. Opponents of our independence really should aspire for a better future for younger Scots. And please don’t try to sell me the imminent, magic cure that is federalism – no not again – please don’t!
In what follows we get a glimpse of what having even limited agency over governance in Scotland is achieving according to this Commission. Here are examples;
1) “The national spatial strategies for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland illustrate a more visionary and long-term approach to national policy-making” There is no similar Spatial Plan for England.
2) on the transition to a zero carbon economy in the UK, the report refers to an Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) recommendation to establish: “A Just Transition Commission for the North of England, following Scotland’s example”
3) On housing policy for the UK2070 report argues that: “Flexible rent control systems are needed to allow reasonable returns to landlords along with longer security of tenure (as is being promoted in Scotland) so as to provide greater stability and productivity in labour supply”
4) In contrast to England, “There is a well-established basis for local joint strategic planning, most notably in Scotland for the metropolitan area of Glasgow ..” – used as a Case Study in the report.
5) On the need for change in the UK, “There is also a need for transparency and accountability in exercising this presumption of levelling-up wellbeing and rebalancing the economy.