Kenneth Gibson has praised the success of devolution twenty years on from the referendum on a Scottish Parliament.
In North Ayrshire 76.3% of voters voted ‘Yes’ in the 1997 referendum, which saw 74% of people across Scotland vote for a devolved parliament. The Scottish Parliament was then reconvened in 1999.
Commenting, Kenneth said:
“Devolution has been a success for both North Ayrshire and Scotland.
“A whole generation of Scots has grown up with the Scottish Parliament and because of devolution those young people have votes at 16 for Scottish elections, the Educational Maintenance Allowance, free university tuition and one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe.
“Whether it’s having the lowest crime rate for 42 years, free concession travel across Scotland, the effective ending of the Bedroom Tax, free personal care for the elderly, closing the wages gap with the rest of the UK, the end of net emigration from Scotland or having the best performing health service in the UK, devolution has benefited people across Scottish society.
“We should always be restless in our ambition to make life better for the people who live here. The more powers our Parliament has, the more we can, collectively, do for Scotland.
“Over the coming months, the SNP Government will bring forward proposals for further devolution of powers over employment, social security, immigration and trade. However, Tory Brexit plans threaten to undermine the very principle of devolution by snatching powers to Westminster over areas such as agriculture, fishing and the environment as they return from Brussels. That would be an unacceptable power grab and we will not stand for it.
"Scotland could of course do much more for people across North Ayrshire with all the powers of an independent country."