SNP report makes change from Brexit fictions, says Sturgeon

The openness of the SNP's Growth Commission report makes a "refreshing change to the fictions peddled by the Brexiteers", Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The document, designed to restart the debate on Scottish independence, made 30 recommendations on a range of economic topics, some of which could be implemented without independence.

The First Minister said it was a challenge to everyone to consider how to raise the economic performance of the country.

Opposition parties criticised the report, with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson describing proposals as a "gamble".

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Key recommendations include cutting the country's deficit from an "anticipated starting point" of 5.9% at the time of leaving the UK to less than 3%, and an independent Scotland making an "annual solidarity payment" towards its share of UK debt.

Scotland could also keep the pound for a period after independence, the commission said, although the country could move to a new currency when six economic tests are met.

Writing in The Scotsman, Ms Sturgeon said: "There is a candour to the report that is a refreshing change to the fictions peddled by the Brexiteers. In arguing for oil revenues to be taken out of day-to-day spending - and instead invested for the long term - the Commission makes a bold proposal that could help steward the benefits of our natural resources.

"The suggested solidarity payment moves the debate on from arguments of the 2014 referendum and demonstrates one way in which a continued strong relationship between Scotland and the UK can be assured.

"Similarly, the plan for reducing the deficit built up under the UK model suggests a way forward that firmly rejects austerity and ensures above-inflation spending growth. All of this can now be debated and discussed."

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She added: "As the Fraser of Allander Institute said, this report not only puts forward challenges to me and the Scottish Government, "it also represents a challenge to other political parties. They too need to set out their vision for Scotland and how they seek to deliver economic prosperity in the years ahead".

"We will now listen to the views of civic Scotland, trade unions, the business community, third sector and most importantly to people across the country."