Sturgeon announces post-independence investment of £20bn and extra child poverty payment
Investment of £20 billion will be delivered in the first decade of Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Ms Sturgeon (pictured) addressed delegates as she closed the SNP conference in Aberdeen on Monday, giving a glimpse into proposals that will be set out in an upcoming paper from the Scottish Government.
The third report in its “Building a New Scotland” document series will be released next week and will focus on economic issues.
The Building a New Scotland Fund will be set up with remaining oil revenues and the use of borrowing powers in order to “kick-start the sustainable economic growth so important for our newly independent nation”, the First Minister said.
She said: “A fund like this could support a massive programme to decarbonise housing, cut fuel bills and reduce fuel poverty.
“It could finance the building of thousands more affordable homes, invest in local renewable energy projects, helping communities own assets and wield more influence over their use.
“It will help the transition to net zero, build resilient communities, and kick-start the sustainable economic growth so important for our newly independent nation.”
Ms Sturgeon told delegates that independence will create a “partnership of equals” in the UK, and said the nations of the UK and the Republic of Ireland will “always be the closest of friends, always be family”.
But she took a swipe at the UK Government for “utterly failing” in its duty to mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
She told the conference: “When global turbulence strikes, national governments have a duty to act in ways that mitigate – rather than exacerbate – the impacts on their own populations.
“When it comes to the cost-of-living crisis, and so much else besides, this UK Government is utterly failing in that duty.
“Each and every day its actions are making matters worse.”
Ms Sturgeon told the conference that she intends on being First Minister “for quite some time yet”.
She said: “For as long as I am First Minister – and by the way, conference, I intend that to be for quite some time yet – my job – our job – is not done.
“For as long as I am First Minister, I will do everything in my power to build the better Scotland we all want to see.”
The SNP leader also said an independent Scotland would protect the founding principles of the NHS by embedding a “universal NHS in a written constitution”.
The First Minister was the final speaker at the three-day event in Aberdeen, which came after she was criticised for saying she “detests” Tories.
After making her comments to the BBC, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi described the language as “dangerous”.
Other than in the First Minister’s speech, just one announcement was made throughout the conference, with the SNP planning to launch a podcast called Scotland’s Voices, announced by depute leader Keith Brown on Saturday.
Extra winter bridging payments will help tackle child poverty
Families of about 145,000 children will receive additional support as bridging payments are doubled this winter, Nicola Sturgeon announced.
The final quarterly Bridging Payment, due in December, will give families £260 through an investment of £18.9 million.
The First Minister told delegates at the SNP conference in Aberdeen that she is “proud” of the Scottish Government’s work to tackle child poverty.
But she added: “We need to do more because we know this winter is going to be really tough.
“Rather than looking forward to Christmas, too many families will be dreading it because they don’t know if they can afford to heat their homes or even pay for food.”
She told delegates that the payment will “help put food on the Christmas table for families of 145,000 children and young people”.
Ms Sturgeon also said she will endeavour to make Aberdeen the “net-zero capital of the world”, with the first 22 projects in the Scottish Government’s £500 million Just Transition Fund being awarded funding of more than £50 million.
The SNP leader said: “These projects will support the production of green hydrogen, the development of wave and tidal technology, and even pioneer the use of waste from whisky to recycle EV batteries.”
Two new fast-track cancer diagnostic centres will also be opened in the Borders and Lanarkshire next year.
“Fast diagnosis and reliable, quality healthcare matters whatever your condition,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“But it is especially important for those with cancer. The best chance of surviving cancer remains early detection and treatment.”
She went on: “By the end of this Parliament, there will be a fast-track cancer diagnostic centre in every heath board in Scotland.
“That is just one example of how we are supporting our NHS. That job is the most important our Government has right now.
“Management of the NHS is our responsibility. It is no-one else’s.”
The First Minister also said an independent Scotland would protect the founding principles of the NHS by embedding a “universal NHS in a written constitution”.
She said: “With independence, we could choose to embed a universal NHS in a written constitution.
A constitutional right to healthcare free at the point of need.
“Conference, if the SNP is in Government, that is exactly what we will do.”
Investment of £20 billion will be delivered in the first decade of Scottish independence, she pledged.
The Building A New Scotland Fund will be set up with remaining oil revenues and the use of borrowing powers in order to “kick-start the sustainable economic growth so important for our newly independent nation”, the First Minister said.
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