THE SNP’s Social Justice and Fairness Commission is to meet for the first time this weekend, The National can reveal.

Nicola Sturgeon announced the new body at the party’s spring conference earlier this year, telling delegates that its role would be to show how independence from the UK could reduce poverty and inequality in Scotland.

It's understood the commission will produce its report in time for the proposals to form part of an autumn 2020 referendum campaign.

Announcing the commission, the First Minister said it would show how the proceeds of economic growth under independence could be shared “much more fairly”.

The commission is also seen as an attempt to rebut some of the criticism of Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission.

Both political opponents – and a fair number of party members – attacked Wilson’s calls for tighter spending controls to bring down the deficit after independence.

Labour has repeatedly described his commission as a “cuts commission” which would lead to “a decade of unprecedented austerity for Scotland”.

The new commission, chaired by former health secretary Shona Robison, will include former Scottish chief medical officer Professor Sir Harry Burns, activist and campaigner Chelsea Cameron, convener of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group Dr Angela O’Hagan and Govan Law Centre principal solicitor and former Labour campaigner Mike Dailly.

Robison told The National that the Commission would "explore in detail how we can use the powers of independence to end poverty, tackle inequality and improve the lives of families across Scotland".

She added: “That’s a crucial task – both for persuading people of the case for independence, and for building a better country once we achieve it.”

Robison said the members of the Fairness Commission represented “a broad base of expertise and experience”.

“This is an amazing opportunity to shape the future of our country, and I am delighted to be leading this important initiative with a fantastic team.”

The members of the Social Justice and Fairness Commission are:

  • Shona Robison MSP (Convener)
  • Neil Gray MP (Deputy Convener)
  • Cllr John Alexander
  • Professor Sir Harry Burns
  • Chelsea Cameron
  • Aileen Campbell MSP
  • Cllr Graham Campbell
  • Cllr Michelle Campbell
  • Mike Dailly
  • Rob Gibson
  • Ginny McLanders Lawson
  • Dr Angela O’Hagan
  • Dr Nighet Riaz
  • Julia Stachurska
  • Professor Mark Stephens
  • Alison Thewliss MP
  • Dr Eilidh Whiteford
  • Ethan Young
  • Julie Hepburn (Secretariat)