Independence not just possible but necessary says Scottish government


  By Lynn Malone
A lack of decision making power is holding back Scotland’s potential for growth, according to a paper to be published later today [Tuesday].
The Scottish government paper on independence will look at the key strengths of the economy in the creative industries alongside food, drink and tourism.  And it will explore Scotland’s strengths in life sciences and renewable energy.

Speaking ahead of publication, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The key question this document will ask is – who would do a better job of running Scotland’s economy: the people who live here or Westminster?

Ms Sturgeon said that everyone in Scotland should have the confidence in the economy to know it can be a successful independent country.

She said: “Scotland is a strong economy. Scotland’s balance sheet shows that in every one of the last 30 years we have generated more tax per head than has been generated across the UK as a whole.”

Ms Sturgeon said the offshore oil and gas industry was strong and that the food and drink sector was also booming – with a turnover of £12bn last year.

She added: “Over the last five years the strength of Scotland’s economy has ensured that as an independent nation we would be better off to the tune of £12.6 billion.”

Blockbuster Hollywood producer, Iain Smith OBE, whose films include Cold Mountain and Entrapment, was among those to back up the Deputy First Minister’s claim that Scotland should be confident “on a global stage”.

Mr Smith said Scotland’s creative industries have a bright future, contribute hugely to the economy and said there is room for growth, particularly in the export sector.

Joe Goldblatt, an expert and professor in events management, also backed the call for Scotland to have more autonomy in decision making, saying: “I am confident that as an independent nation, Scotland, will soon become one of the most successful tourism destinations in the world.”

Yesterday new figures showed a strong rise in the number of people taking up permanent and temporary jobs and could herald a “more robust” Scottish recovery.

The report published by the Bank of Scotland points towards the strongest increase in permanent appointments for a year. And shows temporary jobs grew at a faster rate, reaching a three-month high.

Speaking to BBC News Donald MacRae, chief economist at Bank of Scotland, said: “These results provide further evidence for the Scottish economy beginning to demonstrate a more robust recovery.”

The Finance Secretary, John Swinney, told the BBC that the figures showed a record quarterly increase in employment in Scotland.

He said: “Scotland continues to show a higher employment rate and lower unemployment than the UK” And added that youth unemployment figures “out-perform the UK.”

And cautious optimism is growing among retailers after an increase in shopper figures in April showed that footfall in Scotland is in line with the UK average.

Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) footfall figures confirmed numbers increased by 1% compared to a year ago.

SRC director, Fiona Moriarty, said it was “reassuring” to see the increase in shopper numbers after the 3.8% fall recorded in March.

Speaking to BBC News Ms Moriarty said: “Scotland didn’t see as much sunshine as some areas further south towards the end of April, so it’s all the more positive to see that footfall is in line with the UK average in spite of the delayed onset of milder weather,”.