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McColl: Those backing the Union must lay out policies

ONE of Scotland's richest men has called on political parties opposed to independence to lay out what their policies would be if the country votes no in the 2014 referendum.

Clyde Blowers Capital chief executive Jim McColl told The Herald he is disappointed at the "negative" stance taken by those campaigning against independence.

He is also adamant parties other than the SNP must start providing greater clarity on their plans for Scotland – regardless of which way the vote goes – as there will be another Holyrood election in 2015.

He said: "People are asking the SNP what is going to happen in an independent Scotland but it is not just up to the SNP.

"There are going to be elections after [the referendum] so it is up to all parties to say what would happen in an independent Scotland. Ideally, the other parties should be saying, 'We want you to vote no and here is what we have on offer if you do that. If you vote yes, this is what we will do.'"

Mr McColl called on the cross-party campaign, Better Together, to say how it will improve life for Scottish people if they vote to retain the Union.

He said: "It is really bad the other parties are not coming out and saying, 'If you vote no to independence, here is what we will do for Scotland to enhance its ability to grow its economy, create more jobs and improve the well-being of all its citizens.' It is a very negative stance that has been taken.

"I would like the Better Together campaign to come out and tell us how it will be better."

While Mr McColl is on the Scottish Government's Council of Economic Advisers, he has consistently refused to fully back independence but admitted he believes it would be more favourable than the status quo. However, he is in favour of greater fiscal autonomy.

During a speech at the New Start Scotland Exhibition in Glasgow yesterday, he said: "It has been reported that I am in favour of independence but what I actually said is, we need more fiscal powers.

"We do not have the flexibilities [of tax] that other places have. Why would we not want that?"

Mr McColl also said international customers of his Clyde Blowers group – which has interests in industrial manufacturing, power and machinery – have expressed little interest in whether Scotland will become independent. "They will still buy components from us," he said.

In challenging the pro-UK parties to present a vision of an independent Scotland, the businessman's latest comments reflect the position of the Yes Scotland campaign and will be seen as a step towards actively campaigning for independence.

A spokeswoman for Yes Scotland said: "It is incumbent on all parties to lay out the policies they would favour in an independent Scotland."

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