In 2014, Scotland voted to remain in a UK that was part of the European Union.
However, the result of the June 2016 referendum raises the prospect of Scotland being taken out of the EU against the stated will of the Scottish electorate.
The resultant economic and social upheaval and damage to our international relationships is a material risk to the economy and the wellbeing of our citizens.
Independence is one of the options open to the people of Scotland to choose a different course – to protect Scotland’s place in the EU and, in an uncertain environment, gain more control over the decisions that will shape our economy and society.
The context of a second independence referendum would be very different from that of 2014 and therefore it is important to look afresh at the challenges and opportunities.
What remains constant is the desire of many for independence to be a route to a fairer and more socially just Scotland. A strong and stable economy is essential to achieving that.
To address that desire and consider the steps an independent Scotland would require to take to secure a strong, stable and inclusive economy, a Growth Commission is being established by the SNP Leader.
The Commission will be chaired by former MSP, Andrew Wilson. Its membership includes senior figures from business, economics, politics and academia and it will draw, where appropriate, on externally commissioned research and expertise.
The work of the Commission is primarily intended to inform SNP policy but will seek to draw on views from across the political spectrum. Members of the Commission are taking part in a personal capacity and membership of the Commission does not indicate support or membership of the SNP. An initial report will be submitted to the SNP Leader by the end of 2016.
The Commission will assess the projections for Scotland’s economy and public finances, consider the implications for our economy and finances of different potential governance scenarios, and make recommendations for policy on:
- Measures to boost economic growth and improve Scotland’s public finances – both now in the aftermath of the EU referendum and in the context of independence;
- The potential for and best use of savings from UK programmes in the event of independence, such as Trident;
- The range of transitional cost and benefits associated with independence and arrangements for dealing with future revenue windfalls, including future North Sea Revenues.
In addition, the Commission will take account of the recommendations of the 2013 Fiscal Commission reports, and the outcome of the EU referendum, and consider the most appropriate monetary policy arrangements to underpin a programme for sustainable growth in an independent Scotland.