Nicola Sturgeon: Cost-of-living crisis ‘starkly’ highlights need for Scottish independence

Scotland’s cost-of-living crisis “starkly” underlines the case for Scottish independence, the First Minister has said, as she outlined her Government’s legislative programme for the coming year.

Nicola Sturgeon also reiterated her plan to pass a referendum Bill, paving the way for a second independence poll, if the Supreme Court rules such a Bill is within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

Announcing her plans for the following parliamentary year, the SNP leader said the cost-of-living crisis reminded people that “where, and in whose hands, power lies really matters”.

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However, critics said the SNP’s decision to plan for a referendum was the “wrong priority at the worst possible time”.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “This crisis is much worse in the UK than in other developed countries because of a Brexit that Scotland voted against, but was powerless to stop.

“Under the current devolution settlement, powers over borrowing, taxation and energy regulation – the key powers needed to address the crisis – are reserved to Westminster.

“And yet the exercise of these powers – by a UK Government Scotland did not vote for – has been woefully inadequate.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out her intention to legislate for an independence referendum if the Supreme Court judges it within the competence of the Scottish Parliament

“This Parliament, by contrast, stands ready, willing and eager to act, but we lack the powers and resources we need to do so in all the ways necessary.

“Independence would give us, like it does other independent countries, the levers we desperately need to respond to a crisis like this.”

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, said the plans for a referendum would “divide Scotland all over again”.

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He said: “Instead of trying to unite the country to face this big challenge, this SNP Government is giving precedence on planning a vote on separation, which they know, they must know, will only divide Scotland all over again – the wrong priority at the worst possible time.

"Once again the demands of this Nationalist movement have been set above those of the public and all of Scotland will be poorer as a result of it.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar added: “The First Minister has presided over a Government that has hoarded political power and too often failed to do something meaningful with it.

"Some might say that never has there been a politician with so much power, but who has done so little with it.”

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All episodes of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, are out now.

It is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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