‘Scotland can afford to be independent,' says Finance Secretary Derek Mackay

Scotland can “more than afford to be independent”, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will tell SNP delegates today.

The claim comes despite official Scottish Government figures recently showing that the country’s annual deficit of £12.6 billion is among the highest in Europe.

The shortfall between government spending and the money it raised in 2018-19 amounts to 7 per cent of Scotland’s GDP, raising major questions over the economic viability of independence.

But Mr Mackay will insist today that the case for the union has been “demolished” in recent years after Brexit and austerity were imposed on Scotland by Westminster.

Derek Mackay says Scotland cannot afford the union. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

“Brexit or no Brexit, it is clear that the UK is heading for years of economic uncertainty and political chaos,” Mr Mackay will say in a keynote speech to the party’s Autumn conference.

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“We have always known that convincing people that they will be better off in an independent Scotland is key to winning their support – and opinion polls clearly show that confidence in an independent Scotland’s economy is growing.

“The message is ringing through loud and clear – Scotland cannot afford the union. Our economy, our public services and our people cannot afford to be subject to the whim of Westminster turmoil for years and years.

“Scotland cannot afford the union – but it can more than afford to be independent.”

He will add: “We know that Scotland is a wealthy country – with human and natural resources that most countries could only dream of – and we frankly deserve better than this. We are winning the argument on Scotland’s economic future – and when we have won that argument decisively there will be no way back for the union and we will win our independence.”