Devo-max supporters being pushed toward a Yes vote

One of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs has said that he may vote for independence if there is no ‘devo max’ option on the referendum ballot paper.

Jim McColl, of Clyde Blowers, said: “if the alternative was the status quo, I think it [independence] gives Scots the chance of a better future.”

Significantly, Mr McColl also said that he expected many other people to do the same, claiming: “If it’s just ‘are we independent or not?’ and the ‘not’ is just staying as we are, then I think you’ll find a lot of people will vote for independence so that they get some powers.”

The comments come as anti-independence parties – all of whom have promised more powers for the Scottish Parliament – are unable to unite around a proposed second question. In January, David Cameron came to Scotland to make a speech offering more powers if Scotland voted ‘no’ in the referendum – despite Ruth Davidson having previously described the powers offered in the Scotland Bill as ‘a line in the sand’. Before the Scotland Bill had even completed its passage through Parliament, Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie had already established a Home Rule Commission, and Johann Lamont announced the creation of a commission to consider new powers for the Scottish Parliament.

However, none of the parties have thus far offered any indication as to what these new powers might be, or whether they are willing to actually ask the people of Scotland if they want them.

Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani – who was Convener of the Scotland Bill Committee - said:

“Jim McColl is one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs, and his vast experience clearly tells him that the status quo is holding Scotland back.

“Mr McColl – along with more and more people across Scotland – knows that Scotland badly needs a range of fiscal levers, which would allow us to support our key growth industries, attract international investors and create new jobs.

“The SNP recognises that there is support across Scotland – from individuals and organisations – for a ‘more powers’ option in the referendum, and we have always said that such an option could feature on the ballot paper if the opposition propose one.

“Indeed, politicians of all anti-independence parties have stated that they want the Scottish Parliament to have more powers, but Mr McColl’s comments show that people are not fooled by vague promises of jam tomorrow.

“So far, the anti-independence parties seem unable to unite around any alternative on the ballot paper, and in doing so they are pushing devo-max supporters from across Scottish society towards a ‘yes’ vote.”

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