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Nicola Sturgeon: ‘No country better prepared for independence than Scotland’

Nicola Sturgeon has said no country in history has been “better prepared to become independent” than her country will be.

The First Minister’s comment comes as the Scottish Government is due to publish a paper on its plans for the economy and currency of an independent Scotland on Monday.

It is the third release in the Building a New Scotland series, which aims to set out a refreshed prospectus for Scottish independence.

It is expected to provide detail on moving toward a “fairer, greener independent economy to help people live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives”.

To do so, the paper will set out proposals including rejoining the European Union for access to the Single Market, a redesigned energy market that will provide “secure and reliable” low-cost energy, and greater workplace security with an end to “age discrimination in minimum wage setting”.

It will also outline a migration policy which is designed to boost the country’s working population.

Topics such as currency and fiscal policy, border arrangements and the proposed Building a New Scotland Fund – which aims to deliver investment of £20 billion in the first decade of independence – will feature in the document.

The First Minister said the debate on independence is not about “change versus status quo”, adding: “There is no status quo, and Scotland cannot afford to live under Westminster control any longer.”

She said: “In 2014 we were promised stability if we voted no to independence. Instead, we got austerity and Brexit, and are now being taken on a libertarian joy-ride.

“These are not abstract issues – they are doing real damage to our economy, public services, mortgage costs and pensions.”

Ms Sturgeon continued: “(Monday’s) economic prospectus will outline how resource-rich Scotland can match that success with the powers of independence – moving from a stagnating, high-inequality, Brexit-based Westminster economic model and build a modern, dynamic and sustainable economy to help people live happy, healthy, fulfilling lives.

“We can use powers over electricity market design to ensure security of supply and help tackle the climate emergency.

“We can build a European-style labour market policy which values and invests in workers.

“And by rejoining the EU, we will not only be able to travel freely across both the UK and the 27 member states, but it will be easier to attract EU workers to support sectors so badly damaged by Brexit.”

The people of Scotland “deserve a grown-up, honest discussion about their future”, the First Minister said.

“I will never pretend that everything about independence is easy, but the potential prize open to us means it is more than worth it – for us and for future generations.

“We must never forget that we already have many of the key institutions that an independent country needs, and coupled with our strong economic foundations and immense potential, probably no country in history has been better-prepared to become independent than Scotland will be.”

A UK Government spokesman said it was “simply not the time to be talking about another independence referendum” and that “people in Scotland benefit hugely from being part of a strong United Kingdom”.

“People in Scotland want their governments to be focused on the issues that matter to them – growing our economy, ensuring our energy security, tackling the cost of living and supporting our friends in Ukraine against Russian aggression,” the spokesman said.

“From the furlough scheme during the pandemic which protected jobs and businesses, to our huge energy support package which stopped typical household energy bills reaching more than £6,000 a year, people in Scotland benefit hugely from being part of a strong United Kingdom.

“Scottish business get a great boost from being part of a thriving UK market, with 60% of all Scottish exports going to other parts of the UK.

“The strength of, and sharing of resources around, the UK has never been more important.”

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