John Swinney pledges to 'dedicate every fibre' to growing economy

The First Minister cautioned that the UK government’s 'austerity agenda' was holding Scotland’s economy back.

First Minister John Swinney pledges to ‘dedicate every fibre’ to growing Scotland’s economy PA Media

Scotland’s new First Minister has pledged to “dedicate every fibre” to delivering economic growth for Scotland, but said UK government policies were preventing the country from realising its full potential.

Speaking ahead of attending the ground-breaking of the new Ardersier Port on Monday, John Swinney said economic growth with a “clear social purpose” would enable government investment in public services, fairer wages, and the eradication of child poverty.

Mr Swinney also said that while his government would “use every tool at its disposal” to maximise growth, an end to the UK government’s austerity programme would be required if Scotland is to realise its full economic potential.

He said: “My government will support business and economic growth – not for its own sake, but for a clear social purpose. It is the outcomes of growth which will deliver public funding we can invest in public services like the NHS and schools and ultimately create a fairer society.

“It is vital that benefits of economic growth are felt right across Scotland – and equally, it is vital that all of Scotland contributes to our economic success. I want to see every aspect of our economy and society working together to achieve the best economic outcomes for Scotland.”

Mr Swinney said that Scotland was “blessed with extraordinary natural resources, a skilled workforce, innovative companies and world-leading universities” and called on these to “unite to work together in a national mission to drive economic growth for the benefit of all”.

However, he cautioned that the UK government’s “austerity agenda” was holding Scotland’s economy back, and said he would continue to push for independence.

He said: “The failed austerity agenda pursued by the Conservatives for 14 years – and now supported by Labour – is continuing to hold Scotland’s economy back, and as First Minister I will continue to make the case for a change in approach and for these powers to be in Scotland’s hands through independence. But I will also use every tool at the Scottish government’s disposal to maximise economic growth now.

“With an economy working to its full potential, public services would get the investment they need to thrive, workers would receive fair pay and no longer be struggling with the cost of living and not a single child in Scotland would be forced to live in poverty.

“That is the goal my government is aiming for as we seek to drive economic growth, and that is what I will dedicate every fibre of my being to achieving as First Minister.”

Responding to the First Minister’s comments, Scottish Labour economy spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “It is simply not credible that John Swinney has suddenly discovered the importance of economic growth after 17 years of this incompetent and economically illiterate SNP government.

“Under the SNP, Scotland’s economy is flatlining and our vast potential is being squandered. This chaotic and divided party is incapable of delivering for the people of Scotland.

“From cutting cost-of-living support during the cost-of-living crisis to slashing the housing budget during a homelessness crisis, it is clear that the SNP’s priorities are not those of the people of Scotland.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code