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SNP Spring Conference ’18 SNP independence plan is ‘too conservative,’ prominent nationalist charges

A FLAGSHIP SNP blueprint for independence is “too conservative,” a prominent nationalist charged today.

Former MP George Kerevan told a packed fringe meeting at the SNP conference that the report by the party’s growth commission on the Scottish economy would not convince poor Scots to vote for independence.

At the meeting, hosted by right-wing think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs, SNP politicians welcomed the commission’s contention that Scotland could thrive economically as an independent country.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsty Blackman said that “increasing our population” would be “hugely important” to success, pointing to the commission’s pro-immigration stance.

When it was published last month, Scottish Labour said the SNP-commissioned report would lead to cuts and hardship.

Mr Kerevan said it did not advocate “austerity in any sense of the word” but it was still “too conservative.”

Taking issue with the commission’s rejection of a separate Scottish currency in the medium term, he argued: “My view is let’s get independence, let’s use it.

“If we don’t have our own currency, we are at the mercy of the banks.

“And it is the banks and the banking system in the UK, this warped banking system, that is one of the real causes of our underperformance, our underinvestment.”

He said he understood the need to convince floating voters of the need for separation from the rest of Britain, but argued that a vision for independence had to appeal to those in most need.

He asked: “If you don’t provide something for them in independence, what is independence for?” 

His comments came as the conference called on the Scottish government to establish a national infrastructure company. 

Former MP Anne McLaughlin said such a scheme would allow Scotland to offer “a centre of excellence for public building works.”

Delegates also called for a system of wage ratios in companies, a measure advocated by Labour during last year’s general election.

Glasgow Provan delegate Mary McKay said that, “unlike universal basic income,” such a system would not “cost the government a penny” and “doesn’t have to be recalculated every year with inflation.”

She told the hall: “It isn’t about increasing the size of the cake, it’s about sharing it out more equitably.

“Wage-ratio legislation is an idea whose time has come.”

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