Salmond Unveils Paper On Economy

The Scottish Government is launching an attack on Westminster-led economic policy in its latest attempt to promote independence.

A paper, to be unveiled today, highlights areas where SNP ministers argue UK governments have stemmed the potential for growth. 

They blame a cut in capital spending, the historic failure to create a Norway-style ``oil fund'' and for ``allowing'' inequality to grow. 

Westminster politicians are also blamed for engaging in a boom in credit and debt expansion, which the Scottish Government said damaged the economy. 

London-centric policies have focused economic activity away from Scotland and austerity is being pursued at the expense of growth, the paper argues. 

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will set out the economic paper with First Minister Alex Salmond. 

It comes the day after the UK Government published a report raising concerns that savers and financial institutions could be hit under plans for independence. 

Speaking before the launch in Falkirk, Ms Sturgeon said: ``The evidence is clear. The UK Government's economic policies have been holding Scotland back for generations.

 ``Only with the powers of independence can Scotland meet its full potential.'' 

Scotland has a wealth of resources in areas such as life sciences, creative industry, oil and gas, renewable energy and financial services, she argued. 

``The policies pursued by Westminster Government are not optimal for Scotland and are not fit for Scottish circumstances,'' she said.

``This report shows that those policies have hindered growth, cost jobs and held Scotland back from pursuing policies best suited to our own economic priorities.'' 

An oil fund, using wealth from the start of North Sea exploration, would have helped build up reserves, she said. 

The First Minister has said he hopes to set aside oil revenues ``once fiscal conditions allow''. 

Ms Sturgeon said: ``The paper the Scottish Government will publish today sets out in clear, concise detail the fundamental economic strengths of Scotland across a range of diverse sectors. 

``Scotland can more than afford to be a successful independent country. The question everyone must ask themselves is whether we can afford not to be independent given the scale of economic mismanagement by Westminster.'' 

Former UK chancellor Alistair Darling, who is leading the Better Together campaign, said:``This is long on grievances about the past, but it is very short on Scotland's future. 

``What was billed as an economic framework for independence has turned out to be a list of objections with barely any mention about how leaving the UK would have any impact on them.

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