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Scotland's Future

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Annex D Equality Considerations

Scotland's strong commitment to equality is reflected in this guide to an independent Scotland. It is an integral part of our vision for a modern, democratic Scotland. It underpins our aspirations for a society which is fair and just and informs our ambitions for a dynamic successful nation, caring for its people and resources and occupying its place in the world.

As an independent nation, Scotland can choose a more modern approach to government, including a written constitution. This will put issues such as wage equality and protection against discrimination at the very heart of our legal system, and in the very foundations of our new nation. We will have in Scotland all the powers we need to ensure equality of opportunity in the workplace including, for example, improved representation for women in leadership roles at board level in companies.

The Scottish Government is proposing that equality and human rights should be embedded in Scotland's written constitution. Existing legislation, protection and rights will be maintained on independence. Changes will be subject, as now, to consultation and democratic decision-making, including equality impact assessment.

The specific policies set out in this guide indicate what will be possible in an independent Scotland. The importance we attach to equality is reflected in the approach we propose, for example, to welfare and to pensions.

Being independent will mean we can deliver important advantages for people across Scottish society, with women seeing some of the clearest gains. For older women, a Scottish pension will have a guaranteed triple lock increase protecting its value beyond 2015 (when the triple lock comes to an end in the UK). Entitlement based on a spouse's contribution will also be maintained.

With independence the Scottish Parliament will also be able to reduce energy bills, and this Scottish Government's proposals will save an average household £70. For parents with young families, independence will allow us to deliver a transformational change in early years education and childcare. This will cut childcare costs and make it easier for mothers to enter the labour market.

Following independence, decisions about what policies or proposals should be adopted in Scotland will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament. They will be subject to the appropriate consultation and scrutiny and to assessment of their impact on equality.