THE Scottish Government’s record during 2012 has demonstrated the case for independence, according to the Deputy First Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon said the Government’s achievements in tackling unemployment, supporting public services and improving health and education contrasted with policies adopted at Westminster.
She said record police numbers in Scotland compared with a fall in officers in England and Wales, while an increase in acceptances to Scottish universities for 2012-13 contrasted with a decrease at English institutions.
Scotland also has a smaller percentage of unemployed young people compared with UK figures, the Deputy First Minister said.
Ms Sturgeon also listed the Scottish Government’s commitment to renewable energy, protection for the NHS budget, new schools and housing, and the council tax freeze among its achievements.
She said: “As the year ends and in the face of tough economic times there is a real record of delivery in Scotland.
“We have delivered on key commitments to improve health, education and support jobs while the social wage and council tax freeze, that other parties want to remove, are helping households across the country in difficult times.
“Our growth industries such as renewables and food and drink are thriving internationally despite the tough economic climate, and Scotland is continuing to outperform other areas of the UK in securing inward investment.
“In contrast it has taken four years for the Chancellor to finally see sense and support investment in infrastructure to support jobs and economic growth, something the Scottish Government has been working on since 2008.
“And, while there are still economic challenges ahead, we end the year outperforming the rest of the UK with a higher proportion of young people in employment, and a lower proportion of young people unemployed, partly as a result of the record number of Modern Apprenticeships being delivered this year.”
“NHS budgets have been protected and we have had real success in reducing mortality from the three big killers, whilst record numbers of police on our streets are driving crime down to record low levels.
“This is the record of delivery and success that we can achieve, against the odds, when the responsibility is in Scotland’s hands.”