THE SNP’s social justice commission will outline its vision of a fairer independent Scotland that is “within grasp” by spring next year.

Convener Shona Robison said the work aimed to “put more meat on the bones” of how the powers of independence could be used to tackle poverty and inequality.

She said it would also have an important role in instilling hope, with many people “scunnered” over the chaos of Westminster politics.

She told the Sunday National: “It is being able to raise people’s heads above that and look to how much better we could do and this is what is could look like.

“Look at the prize of what we could achieve here.”

The creation of the Social Justice and Fairness Commission – which include members and non-members of the SNP – was announced in April with the first meeting held in October.

Robison, who stepped down as health secretary last year, said it was planned an interim report would be ready in the spring to present to the SNP conference, with further work concluding by autumn next year.

With First Minister Nicola Sturgeon seeking to hold Indyref2 next year, Robison said it would paint a vision of a fairer society for everyone.

Dundee East MSP and former Health Secretary Shona Robison is the convener of the Commission on Social Justice and Fairness

“A vision was painted back in 2014 – but this will have more meat on the bones about the type of Scotland that is within our grasp if we choose to take it,” she said.

“It isn’t just about independence for its own sake – it is about independence for a purpose and prosperity for a purpose.”

She added: “It is delivering proposals for the vision of independence which looks at how do we ensure everyone has a safe, warm home?

“How do we ensure everyone has enough to live on – and not just survive on – and to be able to contribute to society and to have hope?”

The stated aim of the Commission is to deliver a route map to “the real prize of independence” – a social contract between government and citizens which will build an “inclusive, rights-based society”.

This will be a society where everyone is cared for, supported “from baby box to grave”, and in which everyone can be given “opportunities to flourish”.

The Social Justice and Fairness Commission remit says: “It will deliver proposals for a vision of independence that ensures a safe warm home and community for everyone to live in and a fair chance for everyone to get on in life, bringing an end to the shameful Westminster system which in 21st-century Scotland leaves people without enough money to feed their families at the end of the week.”

Members of the Commission include the SNP MP Neil Gray – who is deputy convener – former chief medical officer Professor Sir Harry Burns, solicitor advocate Mike Dailly, activist and campaigner Chelsea Cameron and former Convener of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group Dr Angela O’Hagan.

Dundee East MSP and former Health Secretary Shona Robison is the convener of the Commission on Social Justice and Fairness

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Three sub-groups have been set up which will carry out work online and focus on specific areas – secure income, homes and communities and health and wellbeing.

A second meeting is expected to take place before the end of the year, with plans for meetings with communities – including those at the “sharp end” of Tory welfare policies and a website where the public can give their views.

The Commission is undoubtedly working with a huge remit – and within a short timescale. However Robison said it was not beginning from scratch and would build upon other work from the Scottish Government, such as basic income, a social security system based on “dignity and respect”, the provision of baby boxes and tackling funeral poverty.

“This is about bringing this all together and looking at the missing bits of what the priorities would be for the first five, 10, 15, 20 years of independence to create that socially just Scotland,” she said.

“It is not going to happen overnight – a lot of work will have to go into building that and there will be some things which will be key priorities.

“The work of the Commission is to set out what are those key things which you would want a Scottish Government to do in those early days.”

When it comes to costing the vision, Robison said the work would build on SNP’s previous Growth commission with its projected revenues for an independent Scotland used as the “starting point” for short, medium and long-term ambitions.

She added: “We have to be realistic, I never try to argue that on day one of independence it is going to be the land of milk and honey.

“We will have work to do, we will have work to grow the economy and I think that was the point the Growth Commission made around inclusive growth and making sure we are able to build an economy that maximises the input from everybody rather than the few.

“There will be things that are priorities that we would do within the first five to 10 years within those projected revenues, but there will also be things we would want to do over the longer term as the benefits of independence – the economic benefits as well as the social benefits – begin to accrue.”

However Robison said more than £100 million of funds being spent each year by the Scottish Government on mitigating the impact of Tory welfare policies would be saved.

And she argued resources could be spent in a “smarter way”, by helping people into work in a supportive way. She cited the case of a carer who is facing giving up the two days of work a week she can manage, because under the current system it means she will be £8 over the income threshold for Universal Credit benefit.

Robison said: “These things are just wasteful of resources and of opportunity. Wouldn’t it be better to have a different way of working, that actually wouldn’t necessarily cost any more, but would just make an awful lot more sense?

“Aye and also helps people into work, into education by not penalising them and holding them back.”

Robison said it was the aim of making the country more socially just and better for everyone that inspired her to go into politics in the first place.

She said: “For me it has never been about taking one flag down and putting another flag up.

“It is about what you can achieve with the powers that come with independence and having all the tools in the tool box at your disposal rather than having half of them sitting somewhere. And those in charge of those tools have a completely different outlook than you – and actually use their tools to undermine what you are doing half the time. It is a real honour to be able to take the time to think about how do we do things differently and create a better society.”