Independence the solution to cost of living crisis, says John Swinney

The First Minister told STV News that the state of the economy in Scotland was down to 'foolish decisions' made by Westminster.

John Swinney has said the solution to the cost of living crisis in Scotland is independence.

The First Minister told STV News that “foolish decisions” by Westminster had “damaged” Scotland’s economy.

He said that the Scottish Government would continue to make the case for independence.

It comes after he axed the post of independence minister when he made his largely unchanged Cabinet on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the First Minister confirmed after FMQs on Thursday that the Scottish Government’s papers promoting independence will still continue.

Swinney said: “What I’m going to do is make sure we build the case for independence and that we explain to people that independence is the solution to some of the challenges that we face in our society today like the cost of living crisis.

“That’s a product of foolish decisions by Westminster on macroeconomic questions.

“We’ve got the implications of Brexit – that’s a Westminster decision doing damage to the Scottish economy.

“And the way out of all of that for Scotland is to be an independent country.”

John Swinney said his government will continue to make the case for Scottish independence.Getty Images

He denied claims by former first minster Alex Salmond that “incompetence” by the SNP had hindered independence support.

The Alba Party leader said the Scottish Government had lost its reputation for competence in government over the last few years adding that, “incompetence in running the Scottish Parliament in my mind was almost an essential ingredient for building the confidence of the Scottish people to move to independence”.

Swinney responded: “That’s not the case. The Scottish Government has got a very strong record of delivery when you look at the improvements in educational performance, when you look at the delivery of infrastructure commitments around the country, when you look at the revolution that’s taken place in early learning and childcare.”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said: “We know John Swinney is doubling down on the SNP’s separation fixation, from his campaign slogan: uniting for independence.

“His more-of-the-same government is happy to foster division across Scotland by focusing on the one issue the feuding SNP can agree on. In doing so, he is ignoring the public’s real priorities – fixing Scotland’s ailing public services and growing the economy.

“Like Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf before him, John Swinney is putting the nationalist interest before the national interest.

“That’s why the SNP must be defeated and, in key seats across Scotland, only the Scottish Conservatives are in a position to do that.”

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