Scotland’s constitutional future was put under the spotlight at a Smith Commission stakeholder meeting hosted by the University of Stirling.
Lord Smith of Kelvin – who has been appointed by the Prime Minister to oversee the process of devolving more powers to Scotland – asked students and staff to join him in a roundtable discussion on what new powers the Scottish Parliament should be given.
Responding to Lord Smith’s questions, students and staff offered their views on a range of issues relating to further devolution. This included feedback on what additional powers Scotland would need to achieve greater gender, age, disability and race equality; how Scotland could address health and income inequalities; and how Scotland could become more economically prosperous.
Lord Smith’s visit to Stirling forms part of his trip across Scotland to garner the views of members of the public following the promises of further devolution made by pro-union parties in the lead-up to September’s independence referendum.
By opening up the debate to members of the public all over Scotland, Lord Smith hopes to ensure the shaping of Scotland’s future is not left solely in the hands of politicians.
He said: “This was an excellent and extremely worthwhile visit. I was able to hear the views of students and academics, all of whom have given me much food for thought.
"I will be taking away what I have learned in Stirling and it will help inform the process. I have always said it was vital that the public and non-political organisations have their say and today's event at the University of Stirling was a perfect example of what I want to happen."
The Smith Commission event at Stirling was facilitated by Professor Kirstein Rummery, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Stirling and a member of the ESRC-funded Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change. Professor Rummery was part of the ESRC’s Future of the UK and Scotland programme, providing academic research and analysis to inform the referendum debate.
She said: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Smith to Stirling today as part of this important Commission, which is encouraging people from all over Scotland – regardless of background or political persuasion – to play a part in influencing Scotland’s constitutional future.
“The event provided a valuable opportunity for our students and staff to provide their informed opinions - and help the Smith Commission establish what is needed in order to make Scotland fairer.”
She added: “Stirling has a long tradition of research and teaching that is applied and reflects real world concerns. The enthusiasm with which our audience members participated is testament to how engaged our campus community is with issues affecting people across Scotland, in the UK and around the globe.”
Lord Smith is very keen to hear the opinions and ideas of as many individuals and stakeholders as possible. Written submissions can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Smith Commission, visit www.smith-commission.scot