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by Kirsteen Paterson
10 October 2022
Nicola Sturgeon conference speech: Renewables can power independent Scotland's economy

Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney on stage at the SNP autumn conference

Nicola Sturgeon conference speech: Renewables can power independent Scotland's economy

The renewables sector will form the foundation of the economy in an independent Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon will say in her SNP conference speech.

Addressing delegates in Aberdeen, the SNP leader is expected to give an insight into the forthcoming economic prospectus paper to be published by the Scottish Government.

The First Minister is expected to state that independence is the "best way to protect the partnership on which the United Kingdom was founded – a voluntary partnership of equals", claiming that "aggressive unionism" from Westminster undermines this.

And she will say that the forthcoming paper will "set out how we can build a new, sustainable economy based on our massive renewable energy resources" and "show how in an independent Scotland, we can deliver lower energy prices and stronger security of supply".

The Scottish Government will not lift the ban on fracking "unlike our UK counterparts", she will say, but will "repeal Westminster's anti-trade union legislation" and "end age discrimination for those on the minimum wage" which sees younger workers earn less.

Sturgeon will say: "Young workers should be valued the same as everyone else – and with independence we can ensure their pay packets reflect that."

Delegates will hear: "We will show how businesses can benefit from independence. With EU membership they’ll be back inside the world’s biggest single market. With a fairer migration policy and European freedom of movement restored, they will have access to talented and committed workers from Europe and across the world. And they will have new opportunities to influence government policy through a social partnership approach.

"In short, with independence, we will show how we can break with the low productivity, high inequality Brexit based UK economy."

Conservative MSP Donald Cameron, the party's shadow constitution secretary, described the content on the relationship with Westminster as "incoherent nonsense". He went on: "Her attempt to pin the blame for the divisions that exist in Scotland on those who oppose her self-serving independence obsession is laughable. It's the SNP who created and continue to fuel division in Scotland."

Labour shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: "The SNP is right to highlight the Tories' failure but ignores their own deplorable record over the last 15 years. At the next election Labour can do so much more than just oppose the Tories – we can replace them altogether."

And Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "The SNP have been focussed on breaking up the UK for all of their 15 years in office. Given the record waits in A&E, people struggling to put food on the table and heat their homes, that obsession with breaking up the UK is nothing short of myopic."

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