SNP conference will give Edinburgh £2 million economic boost

Edinburgh is set to receive a cash boost of nearly £2 million this weekend from 3000 people attending the SNP’s spring conference in the city.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Pic: PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

The gathering at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre today and tomorrow is expected to attract 2500 party members and around 500 media observers .

It is estimated the conference will generate £1,974,000 for the Edinburgh economy as people take advantage of the city’s hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.

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Edinburgh North and Leith SNP MP Deidre Brock said: “This year’s SNP spring conference will bring a massive economic boost of just under £2 million to local businesses - the benefits of this cash injection will be felt well beyond this weekend.”

Conference delegates will this afternoon debate what currency an independent Scotland should use, with the leadership backing plans to continue with the pound until an eventual transition to a new currency.

Former East Lothian MSP George Kerevan is leading calls for a move to an independent currency within the first parliamentary session. He claims the proposed six tests which the Scottish economy would have to meet before moving to a new currency could mean being stuck using sterling indefinitely and allow UK financial institutions to dictate Scotland’s policies.

But a poll by Survation for anti-independence group Scotland in Union found 71 per cent wanted to keep the pound and only 12 per cent wanted a new Scottish currency.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell was due to tell the conference today that Scotland is moving “inexorably” towards independence and urge an inclusive approach, backing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a Citizens Assembly. “We need to encourage everyone who lives here to play a part in building our new national story,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon suggested in a radio interview yesterday that she would still push for a second vote on independence even if the UK remained in the European Union.

The SNP’s 2016 manifesto linked another referendum to a “material change in circumstances” from the original ballot in 2014 and cited Scotland being removed the from EU against its will as an example of this.

But Ms Sturgeon said: “Many people would say there has been a big material change of circumstances in the way Scotland has been treated over the past few years.

“We could be facing the prospect of Boris Johnson as prime minister in a matter of months. I’m not going to start to narrow Scotland’s options.”