Economic prospectus

Scotland ‘well-prepared’ for independence

Nicola Sturgeon and SNP
Nicola Sturgeon: many institutions are in place (pic: Terry Murden)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will tomorrow declare that no country in history has been better-prepared to become independent than Scotland.

She will say that it has strong economic foundations and immense potential, and that many of the key institutions that an independent country needs are already in place.

Ahead of the publication of a paper on the economy under independence, Ms Sturgeon says she will “never pretend that everything about independence is easy, but the potential prize open to us means it is more than worth it.”

The third paper in the SNP Government’s Building a New Scotland series will outline a commitment to rejoining the EU and an improved migration system as well as a secure, low-cost energy market in an independent Scotland.

The economic prospectus will also examine issues such as currency and fiscal policy, border arrangements, and proposals for a Building a New Scotland Fund to unlock £20bn of investment during the first decade of an independent Scotland which was announced at the recent party conference.

She has previously stated that an independent Scotland will have a central bank but use the UK pound until the time is right to introduce a Scottish pound.

She said: “This is not a debate about change versus status quo – there is no status quo, and Scotland cannot afford to live under Westminster control any longer.

“In 2014 we were promised stability if we voted no to independence – instead we got austerity and Brexit, and are now being taken on a libertarian joy-ride. These are not abstract issues – they are doing real damage to our economy, public services, mortgage costs and pensions. 

“As we saw in the first paper in our Building a New Scotland series, there is overwhelming evidence that neighbouring comparable independent countries are all wealthier, more productive, fairer and happier than Scotland is under Westminster.

“Tomorrow’s economic prospectus will outline how resource-rich Scotland can match that success with the powers of independence – moving from a stagnating, high-inequality, Brexit-based Westminster economic model and build a modern, dynamic and sustainable economy to help people live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives.

“We can use powers over electricity market design to ensure security of supply and help tackle the climate emergency. We can build a European-style labour market policy which values and invests in workers.

“And by re-joining the EU, we will not only be able to travel freely across both the UK and the 27 member states, but it will be easier to attract EU workers to support sectors so badly damaged by Brexit.

“We believe the people of Scotland deserve a grown-up, honest discussion about their future, and that is what we aim to provide. I will never pretend that everything about independence is easy, but the potential prize open to us means it is more than worth it – for us and for future generations.

“We must never forget that we already have many of the key institutions that an independent country needs, and coupled with our strong economic foundations and immense potential, probably no country in history has been better prepared to become independent than Scotland will be. Let’s grab the opportunity with both hands.”

The Scottish Greens have pledged to support the paper but add policies that go further than tomorrow’s document.

Alba calls for new tax rates

At the Alba party conference in Stirling delegates voted for what they say will be “the most progressive tax system in the UK.”

Currently Scotland has a higher rate of taxation of 41% for earnings between £43,663 to £150,000 and a top, or additional, rate of 46p on earnings above that level. South of the border the top rate will remain at 45p after the recent u-turn on scrapping it.

Alba called on the Scottish Government to create three new higher bands that would see those earning between £43,663 to £70,000 paying 41% as at present, but those earning between £70,001 to £100,000 would pay 42% tax and earnings between £100,001 to £150,000 would pay 47.5%. 

Alba said its measures would move 453,000 people in Scotland into the new bands, with those earning over £70,001 seeing their tax increase and everyone earning below that not seeing any increase. 

The party called for the creation of a new luxury goods tax. 

The move which would see VAT charged at 40% on goods such as designer clothing, high end super cars and luxury jewellery would raise £2.5bn members of the party said. 

Party members also agreed to call on the UK Government to reduce all other VAT currently charged at 20% to 10%, something Alba say would save the average household £2500 a year to help tackle the cost of living crisis and curb inflation to tackle the rising cost crisis. 

Salmond calls for immediate referendum billl

Former First Minister, Alex Salmond, will tell the Alba Party’s annual conference that an Independence Referendum Bill should be tabled right now in the Scottish Parliament.

Ahead of his speech, he said: “One key point which emerged from this week’s Supreme Court hearing in London is that the Lord Advocate has no veto on the tabling of an independence referendum Bill. Any Minister can take suitable advice and do so. Indeed any individual MSP could do it.

“Surely there is one single MSP in the entire Scottish Parliament with the guts and the gumption to act. An Alba MSP would not hesitate.

“The prospect of a Scottish referendum initiative is an essential part of the pressure to force Westminster to concede an agreed referendum.

“The claim that Liz Truss’s chaotic and collapsing Government is strong enough to withstand a concerted political campaign from Scotland is ridiculous.

“Now is the time for Scotland to strike while Westminster is in turmoil. With the British economy steaming towards the icebergs it is time for Scotland to launch the independence lifeboat.”



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