Putting decisions about Scotland’s future in the hands of the many

In the last few weeks the UK government has started to set out the grim consequences of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and how they will deal with them.

We are months away from Brexit day and the UK government is still at the early stages of planning a likely outcome. What a farce!

The fact that a no-deal Brexit is even possible is a direct result of the Tory government’s refusal to prepare for all outcomes of the 2016 referendum.

Contrast this chaotic process with the journey the SNP has embarked on with the publication of the Sustainable Growth Commission report.

We have begun a new conversation about the future – one full of hope and ambition for a better Scotland.

A conversation informed by 354 pages of economic analysis and recommendations, drawing on all the available evidence and learning from the most successful countries in the world.

I am proud to have been a member of the Sustainable Growth Commission but our task was to begin this process – posing new questions and offering fresh answers.

Now it is over to you. Decisions about our future as a country must always be in the hands of the many, not the elite few.

I was delighted when Keith Brown confirmed that three National Assemblies would bring party members together to discuss and debate the findings.

Today I have been asked to set out the commission’s findings at the second National Assembly in Aviemore.

I am more than a little excited. And no, not just because party members will gather in my own beautiful Highland constituency!

I’m excited because I get to take part in this new, innovative decision making process – one where every voice will count.

The debate so far has focussed on a few issues, particularly currency and how we can make a clean break from Tory austerity.

These are undoubtedly important, and I’m sure they will be at the heart of discussions today in Aviemore, but so too will other issues.

How do we grow an innovative economy and create the jobs of the future?

How do we reduce the gap between rich and poor?

How do we ensure the benefits of growth are shared more evenly across the country?

And how can we attract the best from across the world to live and work here?

In short, how do we harness Scotland’s enormous potential to match the best in the world?

The answers to these questions, and the decisions we reach in the coming months, will ensure we build a winning case for independence.

That case – in contrast to the doom and despair of Brexit – will be one of high hopes and high ambition.

We cannot know with any certainty what the future will hold but we can, and will, ensure that Scotland is well prepared to take it on.

Kate Forbes is SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy.

5 things you need to know about the Sustainable Growth Commission:

  • Scotland is among the wealthiest countries in the world with huge economic potential.
  • Scotland can learn from the best and match the richest, healthiest and happiest countries in the world.
  • After years of Tory austerity, the UK is now amongst the most unequal countries in the developed world and earnings are still below pre-recession levels.
  • Scotland can successfully reduce the legacy deficit we will inherit from the UK while protecting spending on public services.
  • A road map to an independent currency has been set out, using the pound for a transitional period, with a series of tests for future currency decisions.