New paper

Ministers to unveil independence citizenship plan

independence march Edinburgh October 2018
The government to outline rights (pic: Terry Murden)

The Scottish Government will publish its proposals for citizenship in an independent Scotland this week, sparking another row over taxpayers’ money being spent on SNP party policy.

Ministers will issue the latest in a series of documents outlining its case for splitting up the UK. The latest paper will outline who could become a Scottish citizen automatically following independence, and the pathway for others to qualify.

This fifth paper on “Building a New Scotland series” will be issued on Thursday and will include proposals for a Scottish passport and consular assistance for Scottish citizens travelling, living or working abroad.

Migrants’ rights, freedom of movement, and fairer fees to apply for citizenship are also expected to be discussed within the paper.

Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn said: “As an independent nation, Scotland would have the opportunity to re-define what it means to be a citizen of this country, building on our inclusive national identity and sense of collective purpose.

“Independence would also enable us to take a fairer and more welcoming approach to citizenship to make it easier for those who have made Scotland their home to settle here permanently, helping to grow our population and support our communities and public services.

“The proposals in this paper explain how we plan to achieve these aims, on the way to re-joining the European Union as an independent nation, and I look forward to setting them out with the First Minister on Thursday.”

Opponents have criticised the use of taxpayers’ funds to support SNP campaigns for independence.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “Taxpayers will find it galling that the SNP is forcing them to bankroll another fantasy document.

“There are so many other matters the Scottish Government should be focusing on.

“But while health, education and the economy are neglected, independence retains ministers’ full attention.”

The previous four Building a New Scotland papers have set out evidence showing independent countries comparable to Scotland are wealthier and fairer than the UK; how Scottish democracy can be renewed with independence; the macroeconomic framework, including currency arrangements, for an independent Scotland; and how rights and equality could at the heart of a written constitution developed by the people of Scotland.

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