Nicola Sturgeon: It is time to “put Scotland in the driving seat”
Nicola Sturgeon calls for devolution of immigration policy, while pledging the Scottish Government would cover any fee levied by the UK Government on EU nationals working in Scottish public services
Image credit: PA
It is time to “put Scotland in the driving seat” and in charge of its own decisions so it can adapt to a rapidly changing world, Nicola Sturgeon has told her party conference in Glasgow.
In a speech aimed at contrasting the “internationalist” SNP with the UK Government’s attempts to “retreat from Europe”, Sturgeon called for the devolution of immigration policy, while pledging that the Scottish Government would cover any fee levied by the UK Government on EU nationals working in Scottish public services.
She said: “We are the party of independence. The case for independence doesn't depend on Brexit. But Brexit does show us what can happen when we don't control our own future.”
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Unveiling plans to double early years childcare funding to £840m a year and to make young care leavers exempt from paying council tax, the SNP leader told conference: “The challenges we face are generational. Our responses must be transformational”.
The speech included plans to create a publicly owned, not for profit energy company by the end of this Parliament, with the First Minister also confirming that the first Low Emission Zone, created as part of the Scottish Government’s air quality strategy, will be based in Glasgow.
Speaking at the SEC centre, Sturgeon said: “We can trail in the wake of the change that is coming. Or we can choose to shape our own future.
“Let’s resolve this today: We will not wait for others to decide for us. Let’s resolve to put Scotland in the driving seat.
“A country which values education and cares for future generations will always be in the driving seat. At the heart of all we do is a determination to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.”
Sturgeon pointed to the Scottish Government’s attempts to relocate refugees from Syria as well as its “ground-breaking” climate justice fund as evidence of Scotland’s role in the global community.
She said: “There is now a battle of ideas underway across the globe. A battle between those who want to turn inwards and those determined to look outwards.
“We know what side we are on. Our party is internationalist to its core and it will always be so.”
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