Wheelhouse welcomes white paper publication

HAWICK SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse is urging all Teries to read what he says is the most detailed independence blueprint ever produced.

The Scottish Government’s 670-page guide was published today (Tuesday), and describes the huge financial savings that can be made – including half-a-billion pounds on defence spending through, for example, not having to fund the next generation of UK Trident nuclear missiles, and savings from no longer contributing to the funding of the Westminster Parliament – both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Besides addressing the various questions asked about what independence offers the people of Scotland, the document also outlines the Scottish Government’s ambitious plans to use the powers to make Scotland a fairer, more prosperous country – should the SNP win the first elections of an independent Scotland in 2016.

At the heart of this is a transformational increase in childcare provision that would help more people into work – particularly those women looking to enter the workforce – and provide up to 35,000 jobs in the process. This only becomes possible with the powers offered by independence, says the SNP, because only an independent Scotland would have the resources and financial powers to make it happen.

As well as guarantees on the minimum wage and a so-called ‘triple lock’ on pension increases to ensure that they rise at least in line with the cost of living, the Scottish Government also proposes new measures to permanently reduce energy bills by five per cent, and ensure basic rate tax allowances and credits to rise in line at least with inflation.

Speaking to the Hawick News, Mr Wheelhouse said: “This landmark document takes the referendum debate into a new phase. No country in history is as well-equipped as Scotland is to move towards independence, and even the staunchest opponents of Yes, including the UK Prime Minister, now accept that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.

“The guide and the answers it provides will show clearly and simply the difference that we can make in Scotland if decisions on Scotland’s future are taken by those who care most about Scotland, that is the people who live and work here and it slays the myths put forward by the anti-independence parties. “As one example, we know that an independent Scotland would have automatically benefitted from an uplift in area payments under the Common Agricultural Policy – which would have generated an additional €1billion (£850 million) of revenue between 2014 and 2020.

“The referendum on 18th September next year is a vote unlike any other – it is the biggest opportunity we have had as a country in 300 years. That’s why I’m calling on everyone in Hawick – regardless of what their current views are on independence – to read this guide, to compare it with the lack of any alternative future vision for Scotland and the unremitting negativity of the other side and make up your own mind.”