Deputy First Minister: ‘Decisions about Scotland should be made in Scotland’

0
547

  Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced the second phase of the Scottish Government’s referendum information campaign, which will focus on the benefits to job creation, sustainability of pensions and long-term economic stability that will come from taking decisions in Scotland.

Speaking as she set out the Scottish Government’s plans to mark one year to go until the referendum Ms Sturgeon said that one of the most significant developments of the referendum debate to date is that both sides now agree that Scotland can afford to be independent.

She said that Scotland is one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with an abundance of talent and resources. Now that it is well established that Scotland can be independent, the focus of the next phase of the debate will be on why Scotland should be independent.

To that end, Ms Sturgeon confirmed that a series of papers will be published by the Scottish Government and the Fiscal Commission Working Group in the run up to the publication of the White Paper in November. These papers will include a comprehensive account of how pensions will be protected in an independent Scotland, proposals for boosting the economy, creating jobs and stewarding our natural resources and plans for a simpler and less complex tax system than the current Westminster model.

Ahead of a debate on ‘Scotland’s future’ in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday Ms Sturgeon said:

“Decisions about Scotland should be taken by the people who live and work here. That is what independence means.

“The contrast and the choice facing the people of Scotland in next year’s referendum is clear; no one has a greater incentive to make the right decisions for Scotland than the people who will be directly affected – each and every one of us.

“No-one seriously questions the fact that Scotland can afford to be independent and the more information people have about the opportunities independence will bring for Scotland, the more they welcome the prospect of independence.

“Last year I said the Scottish Government would set out the structure of an independent Scotland, answer key questions and publish the prospectus for independence.

“We have already published key pieces of work by the government and our expert advisers – setting out the way in which Scotland would become independent, the opportunity for a written constitution, the strengths of Scotland’s economy, our intention to retain our pound as our currency, and the opportunities that independence will bring to improve Scotland’s welfare system.

“In the coming weeks we will publish our proposals to better protect Scotland’s pensioners, capitalise on our economic strengths to create new jobs, boost innovation and exports and build a more cohesive and equal country.

“The Fiscal Commission Working Group, consisting of two Nobel laureates, will set out how a simpler and more efficient tax system can be established, offer their advice on managing Scotland’s public finances and stewarding our vast oil reserves for the benefit of this and future generations.

“In November we will publish our White Paper on independence – a comprehensive guide which will answer all the questions people reasonably have about independence.

“Just as we will set out the evidence of the gains for people when we have decision-making powers here in Scotland, so too will we set out the real costs of leaving Westminster with economic, tax and social security powers.

“Far from pooling resources and sharing risks we know that the Westminster system is pulling resources away from some of our most vulnerable citizens and has created one of the most unequal countries in the developed world; we also know that there are greater regional economic differences in the UK than in any other EU country and that Westminster has badly mismanaged the public finances.

“Westminster has also now decided to impose social security cuts on the poorest and most vulnerable through measures such as the bedroom tax.

“That is not the way to build a stable economy. In Scotland, we have the resources and talent to be a successful country, but to increase job security, stability and social justice we need the economic and tax decision-making powers of independence.”