SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Alex Salmond has failed to give women the answers they need on Scottish independence, according to shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran.
Ms Curran described the SNP’s commitment to women as “paper thin”, as she launched an attack on the Scottish Government’s record.
She is due to speak at a Labour Party summit for women’s organisations in Edinburgh today, where she is expected to say that women are backing the No campaign because the First Minister “has failed to answer fundamental questions about the currency and are not willing to take this risk with their family’s future”.
Her speech comes after the latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey revealed a 12-point difference in support for independence between men and women - 31% compared with 43% when undecided voters are excluded.
Ms Curran is expected to say: “It is now clear that women are backing the No campaign.
“For any of us who have spent time talking to women about the referendum over the past two years, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
“Women are concerned about their own future and their family’s future, and Alex Salmond and the SNP haven’t given them any of the answers they need.
“Last Tuesday night, women across Scotland saw the First Minister struggle to answer the most basic questions about the economy. And on doorsteps across Scotland this weekend, women told me the same thing.
“They don’t want to take this risk with their family’s future.
“Alex Salmond is playing fast and loose with Scotland’s economy, and we know it.”
Ms Curran will say the SNP administration has failed to deliver for women using its existing powers in areas such as childcare, health and education.
“They (female voters) know that the SNP only started paying attention to them when they wanted to win their votes,” she will say.
Ms Curran will also outline the findings of research from the House of Commons library, which looks at female board representation in several Scottish Government agencies since the SNP came to power in 2007.
The research found that fewer than a third of board members of some non-departmental public bodies are women, and several bodies, including Visit Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, have only one or two female board members.
It also found that, on average, only four out of every 10 health board members are women.
“Today, over seven years into the SNP’s time in Government, we haven’t seen any real improvements in increasing women in public life across Scotland,” she will say.
“Our Parliament now has a lower proportion of women than when it was established.
“A Parliament that was meant to enhance the role of women has instead seen progress stall.
“Despite this, the SNP have failed to take any real action as a party or a Government to change this.
“Their commitment to increasing women’s representation is paper-thin.”