ONE of the most senior figures in the pro-independence movement has called for the inclusion of trade unions in any further SNP Growth Commission talks after accusing the body of consulting the "Scottish establishment".

Dennis Canavan, who was the chair of Yes Scotland during the 2014 referendum campaign, said the failure of the Commission to consult trade unions was a “grave omission”.

He also said there was “concern” about the Commission proposal for an independent Scotland adopting sterling currency in the long term while having no control over monetary policy.

As part of its deliberations, the Commission met organisations including the Scottish Council for Development & Industry, CBI Scotland, Universities Scotland, the Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Business and the Law Society of Scotland.

However, it did not meet the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) or any of its members.

Canavan told the Sunday Herald: “The Commission consulted a range of organisations in the Scottish establishment, including business and academic interests, but appears not to have made any effort to consult the STUC or individual trade unions. That is a grave omission on the part of the Commission.

“I hope that the trade union movement will now be invited to comment on the report's findings. It is absolutely essential that workers and their representatives be given the opportunity to respond before any final decisions are taken.”

The Commission, chaired by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, was set up by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to refresh the economic case for independence.

However, the 354-page report has angered the left of the Yes movement due to the emphasis placed on deficit reduction and economic competitiveness.

Although Canavan described the Commission's report as a “valuable contribution” to the debate, he is critical of aspects of the body’s work.

On currency, the Commission effectively backed ‘sterlingisation’, which would involve an independent Scotland using sterling without a formal agreement with the Bank of England.

Canavan said: “On currency, the option of a sterling currency union turned out to be a hostage to fortune in the last campaign because it handed our opponents a veto.

“There may be practical reasons for continuing to use sterling without a currency union for a temporary period until such time as a new currency is introduced but there will be concern about a transition period lasting as long as 10 years.”

Canavan was a Labour MP for nearly 25 years before he was blocked from standing for his party at Holyrood. He ran as an independent and represented Falkirk West from between 1999 to 2007.

A renowned left-winger, Canavan symbolised the type of labour movement figure who switched from backing the union to supporting independence. He chaired the Yes Scotland advisory board and played a prominent campaigning role in 2014.

Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC, said: “Many share Denis Canavan’s concerns, but the STUC is focused on the content of the report and playing an active part in the national conversation about the progressive policies needed to address Scotland’s deep seated and longstanding economic challenges, whether independent or not.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “We know that some within the independence movement have expressed a desire for a different approach - their views are welcome and we look forward to key figures like Dennis and bodies like trade unions playing a full part in the debate over the summer about the kind of country Scotland can be."