Scottish charity workers sign up to pro-independence campaign

Third Sector Yes aims to show how an independent Scotland would 'deliver better outcomes for vulnerable people and the environment'


More than 100 third sector workers have signed up to a campaign backing the pro-independence movement in Scotland.

Third Sector Yes, which launched last week, is run by Scottish charity workers acting in a personal capacity, who say they "aim to use our experience in third sector issues to bring to life how and why we think independence would deliver better outcomes for vulnerable people and the environment".

Charities in Scotland have previously been cautious of campaigning after the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator issued guidance saying that trustees must ensure that campaigning on the issue "does not advance a political party" and be satisfied they are acting in the interests of the charity.

Eliot Stark, chief executive of Volunteer Development East Lothian, said members of the campaign had joined as individuals and did not represent the views of the organisations they work for. Voluntary sector workers in Scotland have felt silenced in the debate about the referendum, he said.

"Personally, I feel that independence will allow us to fulfil some of our ambitions for a fairer and more equitable society," said Stark.

Stark said he thought a ‘yes’ for independence in the referendum next September would provide a blank canvas that would allow Scotland to draw up a new agreement with the public based on a written constitution about human rights and the expectations of what the state provides.

"The campaign is a collective of individuals that share a view," he said. "I think Scotland would be more progressive and fairer if we move towards independence. I think many in the third sector find it difficult to work with Westminster, where it currently sits in terms of policy direction and how it affects the most vulnerable in society."

Gail Wilson, a campaign member and environmental campaigner, said: "I feel it’s important that people working in NGOs, social enterprises and other third sector organisations feel able to express their own views on the referendum. We can help inform the debate about what independence might mean, without the distraction of party politics."

A spokesman for Better Together, which is campaigning for a 'no' vote in the referendum, said: "Charities and third sector groups in Scotland benefit from the strength and security of being part of the larger UK, with the funding opportunities like the National Lottery. There is no sense in putting this at risk."

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