SCOTLAND’S economic strength is the key to the push for independence, external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop has said.
Her remarks follow evidence in a Scotsman poll yesterday which indicated that a majority of Scots would vote Yes in next year’s referendum if they believed they would be better off by £500.
“It’s the underlying economic strength of Scotland,” Ms Hyslop told a debate on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Today we’ve seen approval for one of the biggest renewable tidal energy plants and that gives economic wealth for Scotland in the new industries in life sciences and renewables.”
Ms Hyslop insisted that areas such as childcare are held back because powers are “still held by Westminster”.
She added: “We have only one Tory MP, yet we still get David Cameron who wants to privatise the Royal Mail, we still get the bedroom tax when a majority of our MPs vote against it, so in terms of a positive vision of what we want, I want to see a fairer Scotland.”
Despite proposals to keep the pound after independence and remain tied to the Bank of England, Ms Hyslop insisted Scotland would still have key decision-making powers.
She added: “True independence is when people decide the policies and the governments that they vote for.
“Currently we do not get governments we vote for. We need to make sure that decisions are made for the people of Scotland, by the people of Scotland. It’s a choice of two futures and independence is a positive, progressive choice.”
But Labour’s deputy leader in Scotland, Anas Sarwar, insisted a place within the UK was “bigger than independence”.
He said: “It’s right for us politically, economically, socially and emotionally.”
Mr Sarwar also warned that there was more to the debate than passion. He said: “Scotland can be a passionate voice but we speak louder and more strongly as part of the UK, stronger in the G8, stronger in the G20, stronger in the United Nations, stronger in the European Union and we get a democratic benefit in the UK.”