Brexit Means 'More Powers To Scottish Parliament'

5 April 2016, 07:14

The head of the campaign for Scots to leave the European Union claims a Brexit vote would create more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

Tom Harris, director of the Scottish Vote Leave campaign, said the new powers are part of a specific Scottish case for leaving the EU.

He said other inducements for Scots to vote against remaining part of Europe include a cash boost for Scottish higher education once EU students pay tuition fees and a £1.5 billion windfall for the Scottish budget after contributions to EU institutions stop.

Speaking at the launch of the Scottish Vote Leave campaign on Tuesday, he will say: "Given the ongoing Holyrood campaign, the campaign for us to leave the EU at the referendum in June is naturally not at the top of voters' agenda.

"But between now and May 5, candidates of all parties should be invited to express an opinion on the case against continued EU membership.

"Major new powers - particularly in fishing and agriculture - would automatically be devolved to Holyrood, not Westminster, in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU. Any repatriated power that isn't already explicitly denoted as ''Reserved`` in the Scotland Act 1998 is assumed to be the remit of the Scottish Parliament.

"Leaving the EU could also secure free university tuition for Scottish students, by significantly increasing the amount of money it can charge EU students attending Scottish universities.

"The UK as a whole pays £350 million a week to the EU for the privilege of maintaining its membership. Scotland's share of that works out at £1.5 billion a year - more than half of the annual Scottish education budget.

"We want potential MSPs to tell us what they would do with that extra money, or to explain why they think Scotland can afford to continue sending that money to Brussels.''

The campaign launches at White House Products in Port Glasgow, owned by the Scottish chairman of the Business for Britain leave vote pressure group, Alistair MacMillan.

Mr MacMillan said: "As a businessman I know how important it is to keep a tight control over costs, but that doesn't seem to be something that EU politicians understand.

"The EU's accounts haven't had a clean bill of health for 19 years running - that is no way to run an organisation which takes more than £1.55 billion from Scotland every year.

"If we vote to leave in the EU referendum we will be able to spend that money on our priorities here in Scotland rather than sending it abroad.''