Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Former PM Gordon Brown wants a 'union for social justice'

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Media captionGordon Brown launches the United with Labour campaign

Former prime minister Gordon Brown said the anti-independence fight has to be based on a union for social justice with fairness at its core.

He made the comment during a speech in Glasgow to launch his party's United with Labour campaign.

The SNP's deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon had earlier dismissed Mr Brown's view that taxes would have to rise in an independent Scotland.

Voters in Scotland go to the polls on Thursday, 18 September, next year.

They will be asked the single yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Mr Brown told a gathering in Glasgow that "pooling and sharing resources gets the best for everyone".

He criticised both the SNP and the Conservatives during his address at the Emirates Arena.

The party campaign aims to contact half a million households in the next three months.

Mr Brown said: "In the last few years I have had time on my hands, time to reflect, courtesy of the British people, and I want to put the positive, principled, forward-looking case for a strong Scottish Parliament inside a strong United Kingdom.

"I want to put the case for pooling and sharing of resources right across the UK for the benefit we all get in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland."

Working together

The Fife MP made reference to Scottish cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, who the velodrome at the Emirates Arena is named after.

He said: "We're in the Chris Hoy centre and what does his experience show? That as a Scot, part of the UK cycling team, as he himself said, he achieved more working together."

Mr Brown also hinted that more power could be devolved to Scotland if voters reject independence.

He said: "I yield to no-one in my pride in what we have achieved in getting devolution for the Scottish Parliament.

"And I too am happy to consider what we can do in the future to make that devolution settlement better.

"I yield to no one in my pride in being Scottish. I was born in Scotland. I was brought up in Scotland, went to school in Scotland. I live in Scotland. My children were born in Scotland. My sons are at school in Scotland. My sons are growing up in Scotland.

"We achieve more together working together than by working on our own."

He went on to list what he described as the benefits of remaining part of the union, including UK pensions, UK national insurance contributions, the UK funding of health care and the UK minimum wage. "

He also warned against a "race to the bottom".

On corporation tax, the former chancellor claimed if Scotland cut the rate to that of Ireland, it would lose £1.5bn of the £3bn raised in Scotland "immediately".

Currency policy

He said: "You would lose half the share of corporation tax revenue. Then what would happen is the English would cut their corporation tax, the Welsh would demand they had the right to cut theirs, the Northern Irish already want the right to cut theirs.

"Then there would be a race to the bottom and soon we would have very little revenue at all from corporations operating in the United Kingdom."

On pensions, he questioned whether an independent Scotland would be able to provide people with the same level of financial support in their old age as the UK does.

He also attacked the Nationalists' policy on currency.

The Scottish government has said it planned to keep the pound in a "sterling zone" with the rest of the UK, in the event of independence.

Mr Brown said this would mean "UK decisions on interest rates, UK decisions on money supply, UK decisions on inflation" without any "Scottish input whatsoever".

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