Nicola Sturgeon: Independence allows us to build an economy that works for all
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland could forge its own economic path following independence by leaving behind the “financial chaos” currently affecting the UK.
Setting out the economic case for independence during a press conference at Bute House, Sturgeon said an independent Scotland would seek to rejoin the EU, a move which would require “border arrangements” with the UK.
The first minister said independence was not a “miracle cure” but would allow Scotland to make its own fiscal decisions.
She said an independent Scotland would establish its own central bank and debt management office and would establish as Scottish pound “as soon as is practicable”.
She said: “The UK economy is fundamentally on the wrong path and there is no real alternative on offer within the Westminster system.
“The establishment consensus on Brexit - despite the harm it is causing - illustrates that.
“For Scotland, not being independent means we are being dragged down the wrong path too: one people in Scotland did not vote for.
“To build a more stable, sustainable economy - with fairness and human wellbeing at heart - independence is therefore essential.
“That is the fundamental point we make in this paper. Independence is not an abstract argument separate from people’s daily lives.
“It has at its heart the ambition - and crucially, it equips us with the essential tools - to build a fairer, wealthier, greener, happier country.”
Sturgeon said Scotland would re-join the EU, but refused to be drawn on how long that process would take.
And she said an independent Scotland would continue to use sterling until such times it could introduce its own currency.
But she admitted independence was not a “miracle cure”.
“There's an inherent uncertainty in the future...this is not a choice between certainty and uncertainty,” she said.
Scottish Labour's finance spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, said the SNP had “no answers” on key questions relating to independence.
He said: “While economic chaos reigns, the SNP is focused on plunging Scotland into even greater turmoil.
“The truth is this – the SNP government has no answers to the key economic questions surrounding independence.
“They have no plan for a central bank worthy of the name and no plan to balance the books in the event of independence.
“Scotland using the currency of another state without a shared political system is a recipe for mayhem.
“Those with mortgages are right to be alarmed at this slapdash fiscal policy. The SNP’s plan for homeowners to pay off mortgages in a different currency is a disaster waiting to happen.”
He added: “What Nicola Sturgeon and her nationalist government plan to do is to drive Scotland into decades of economic chaos and austerity so that they can pursue their constitutional obsession.”
Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Liz Smith MSP, said: “It’s hard to see what the point of this paper launch was, given that it fails to address the fundamental questions that have always undermined the economic case for independence.
“The SNP are still unable to provide details about how our currency would work, who would pay our pensions, and how we would cope with the potentially devastating effects of a hard border with the rest of the UK.
“Absurdly, they expect the Scottish public to vote on independence without any of these crucial questions being answered.
“The fact is that the SNP’s economic case for independence is as weak as ever – this is a lightweight SNP pamphlet dressed up as a glossy Scottish Government paper. These proposals would be a leap in the dark that would directly endanger jobs, wages, savings and investment.
“Scotland deserves a government focused on people’s real priorities, not sketchy, uncosted schemes.”