Tuesday, 27 Jul 2021

Nicola Sturgeon claimed ‘hard times ahead’ for Scots after independence dream shattered

Nicola Sturgeon 'needs to press pause button' says Nelson

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The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) sent a warning to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for “picking a fight with the democratic wishes of the Scottish people” over a second independence referendum. She claimed another vote “is the will of the country” and reaffirmed that it is a “matter of when not if”. But the First Minister appears to face a huge problem – funding – and she previously admitted that her economic blueprint is now “completely out of date” due to the pandemic and Brexit.

She told Channel 4 News: “The figures for the Growth Commission report predate Covid and we would have to take in the changes around Covid.

“While the underlying approach of the Growth Commission is one that I fully endorse and sign up to, the figures in it are completely out of date.

“Because in the period since that was published we’ve undergone a global pandemic, the fiscal position of the UK and most countries across the world has been turned upside down.”

The SNP manifesto for the Holyrood election says the party would try to hold a second referendum by the end of 2023, if re-elected.

It listed spending commitments in its manifesto, which is estimated to be more than £17billion.

Mrs Sturgeon has vowed to still deliver the spending commitments over the next five years if it becomes independent.

But she admitted it will not be easy.

She told ITV: “There are hard times ahead for whatever happens right now because we are in a global pandemic and we are about to come out and have our recovery.

“There are tough times ahead for every country.

“We would like to be in a position to grow our economy rather than go through austerity cuts.”

The London School of Economics (LSE) said that independence from the UK would cost Scotland’s economy two to three times as much in lost trade than Brexit will.

The report from a team of academics at the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance also argued that Scotland rejoining the EU would make little difference.

The LSE report stated that Brexit will cut Scotland’s long-term per capita income by 2 percent, but independence would cut income by a further 4.5 to 6.7 percent, even if an independent Scotland stayed in a ‘common market’ with the remainder of the UK.

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However, the authors said that these are likely to be underestimated as productivity would be affected.

Pressure is mounting on Mr Johnson to set out his proposal to combat the support of the separatist movement north of the border.

It comes after the SNP won 64 seats in Holyrood earlier this year, one short of an overall majority.

But with seven Scottish Green Party candidates being elected, a majority of MSPs in the parliament are in favour of independence.

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