Evening Express

SNP members gather in Edinburgh to debate independence plans

SNP members are gathering in Edinburgh for the “biggest ever” national assembly meeting to debate a new economic blueprint for independence.

The party is holding a series of events to gather views on the findings of the Growth Commission, published in May.

National assemblies have already been held in Ayr and Aviemore ahead of the SNP’s autumn conference in
October.

The Growth Commission, set up by Nicola Sturgeon and chaired by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, set out a series of recommendations for the economy in an independent Scotland.

Its proposals include keeping Sterling without a formal currency union after Scotland leaves the UK.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Andrew Wilson with the Growth Commission report in May (PA)

A separate Scottish currency could be set up after a period of about a decade, but only if six key economic tests were met, the commission said.

The move would see the Bank of England continue to set interest rates and other monetary policy in the years after independence.

The commission also said it would take 10 years to get Scotland’s deficit rate under control, while an independent Scotland would take up to 25 years to match the economic performance of other small countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand.

The First Minister has insisted the report sets out an alternative to Westminster’s “austerity”, but the document has been criticised by some Yes supporters.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown, who will chair the event, said: “Wide-ranging and vibrant debates on the Sustainable Growth Commission, and a great deal besides, in the Highlands and in Ayrshire will be followed by the biggest event yet, today in Edinburgh.

“And this is just the start of the conversation.

“Specially built resources will allow branches from across the country the opportunity to have their say on the work of the Sustainable Growth Commission, and wider discussions are ongoing.”