SCOTTISH REFERENDUM: Regional devolution must now follow, says county council chief

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The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council is calling on the Government to ‘seize the moment’ and devolve powers and funding to the rest of the UK after the Scottish independence referendum.

Coun Alan Rhodes described Scotland’s decision to stay in the UK in favour of independence as a ‘victory for common sense’.

The county council joined other local authorities and communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland by flying the Saltire at its headquarters in the run-up to the referendum.

Flying the flag was a show of unity with the Scottish people and support for the retention of the historic partnership between the countries.

Speaking after the declaration of the referendum result, which ended in a 55.3 per cent to 44.7 per cent victory for the ‘no’ campaign, Coun Rhodes said: “Now let the devolution commence.

“The Scottish debate must surely make Whitehall realise that the way forward is to have local areas freed from Government-imposed restrictions and underpinned by a fair distribution of public funding for all of the UK.

“We are asking for locally-elected, community-based politicians to make decisions which address local challenges and concerns and to have the revenue raising and some of the law making powers to enable us to carry out our democratic duty.

“We are all accountable and, if we make the wrong decisions, we can and will be removed by the people we represent.”

And Coun Rhodes went on to warn against limiting any devolution to UK cities, which already benefit from higher funding and have less capacity for growth.

“Devolving powers and funding to the core cities, whilst ignoring the rest of us, will just not do. This must be proper devolution for all – not just a handful of cities. The greatest capacity for growth lies outside the cities, and the people that live there deserve the same powers, funding and opportunities as everyone else.”