Nicola Sturgeon: ‘Shambolic’ UK Government holding Scotland back

Nicola Sturgeon arrives on stage at the SNP's spring conference in Aberdeen yesterday. Picture: PA
Nicola Sturgeon arrives on stage at the SNP's spring conference in Aberdeen yesterday. Picture: PA
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Theresa May’s shambolic government is holding Scotland back, Nicola Sturgeon will claim, hitting out at the UK Government over its policies on migration and austerity.

The Scottish First Minister will use her speech to the SNP conference in Aberdeen to contrast the actions of her Scottish Government with those of Westminster.

Telling the audience that her party is moving Scotland forwards, she will also use her address to announce a new fund - the forerunner to the planned Scottish National Investment Bank - will invest £70 million this year, with £25 million of this going towards the construction of 3,000 new homes.

The First Minister will claim: “While the shambolic Westminster Tory government is holding Scotland back, the Scottish Government is moving Scotland forwards.”

With the SNP “governing in tough times” she will tell party activists the “legacy of the recession and the continued reality of Westminster austerity challenges us every single day”.

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Ms Sturgeon will make a renewed plea for powers over immigration to be devolved to Scotland, saying: “Westminster’s hostile environment to migration is not just a slogan. It is has a real impact on our public services and our economy.

“Since the Brexit vote there’s been a huge drop in the number of EU nurses registering in the UK.

“And until just two days ago, a young student nurse from Paisley, a former member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Denzel Darku, was being threatened with deportation.

“At first sight that beggars belief, but then you realise it was just the Tories being true to form - hostile to migrants and neglecting the NHS.”

Ms Sturgeon will add: “Scotland is a welcoming country - our prosperity and our public services depend on it.

“If Westminster cannot or will not act in our best interests, it is time that our own Parliament was able to do so. It’s time for powers over migration to come to Scotland.”

She will also announce that the £150 million Building Scotland fund is open for business.

The fund is the precursor for the Scottish National Investment Bank, which was announced as part of the latest Holyrood budget.

Ms Sturgeon will say that this “has the potential to put Scotland at the forefront of technological and environmental innovation and create jobs”, but that it will take time to set up.

“To bridge the gap, we have announced £150 million over the next two years for a new Building Scotland Fund,” she will say.

“I can announce today that this fund is now open for business.”

With a total of £70 million to be invested in 2018-19, £25 million will go to supporting low carbon industrial facilities, with another £25 million on housing and £20 million towards more research and development work.

This will show the Scottish Government is “boosting the economy now, preparing it for the future and building the homes that people need,” Ms Sturgeon will say.