First Minister pledges 'double lock'

Sturgeon on attack over spending cuts and EU referendum

Sturgeon and MackayNicola Sturgeon today said her government was opposed to the “scale and speed” of spending cuts planned by Westminster, and would fight for Scotland to retain its membership of the European Union.

The First Minister claimed the proposed pace of cuts would slowdown economic recovery would also make deficit reduction more difficul. She highlighted the impact of the cuts since 2010 when the coalition came to power.

“We will point out that the charter for budget responsibility allows the UK government flexibility to increase spending over its current plans, while still reducing the deficit and debt,” she told business leaders in Edinburgh.

“And if the UK government sticks to its current proposals we will argue for ways in which the impact on Scotland can be lessened.”

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, the First Minister also committed the Scottish government to protecting Scotland’s interests in Europe through a “double lock”.

This would mean that exiting EU membership would only be possible if all for nations of the UK agreed to it. It was “something which would prevent Scotland from being forced out of the EU against our will,” she said.

The Scottish government would put a “positive case” for staying in the EU and the First Minister said she will be speaking on the subject again in Brussels a week today.

Responding to a question on Scottish independence and its implications for business, she said: “I need to be careful, in case people think I am planning a second referendum, which I am not.”

Picture: Nicola Sturgeon with Ian Mackay, chairman of the Institute of Directors Scotland at the Tynecastle launch of the Scottish Business Pledge

> Business Pledge

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