SNP offers ‘optimism and hope’, Nicola Sturgeon will tell party conference
Nicola Sturgeon at last year's autumn conference - Image credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire/PA Images
The SNP is offering “optimism and hope”, Nicola Sturgeon will tell delegates in her speech at the party’s autumn conference later today.
She will contrast her party with the “unfolding calamity” and “disaster” of the Westminster government.
The First Minister will say that an independent Scotland would be a “beacon for progressive values” such as equality, opportunity, diversity and fairness.
She is not expected to announce a date for another independence referendum, having said she will need to wait until the outcome of UK Government negotiations on leaving the EU.
Nicola Sturgeon is expected to say: “The Westminster government stumbles from day to day and disaster to disaster.
“It’s hard to watch that unfolding calamity and feel anything other than despair.
“So it is up to us – now more than ever – to offer optimism and hope.
“Just think how much more hope will be possible when we take Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands and become an independent country.
“An independent Scotland, just as Scotland is now, will be a beacon for progressive values – equality, opportunity, diversity and fairness.
“Indeed those values feel more important today than ever before in my lifetime.”
In her speech Sturgeon will also announce new approaches to public contracts and grants that ensures employees receive fair pay and conditions, called ‘Fair Work First’.
This will link living wage, zero hours contracts and gender pay criteria to business funding and support grants as well as public sector contracts by the end of this parliament.
She will say: “Fair Work First means investment in skills and training, no exploitative zero hours contracts, action on gender pay, and genuine workforce engagement, including with trade unions. And, of course, payment of the Living Wage.
“We may not yet have the constitutional power to make fair work a legal requirement - but we do have the financial power of government to make it a practical reality. And we will make that count.”