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Continued UK Government ineptitude is dragging us all down into a spiralling economic crisis, with poverty on the rise and people struggling to heat their homes and pay their bills.

Scotland voted neither for this Tory Government, nor Brexit and it’s more pressing than ever that the people of Scotland have the right to choose our own path. Last week I participated in a Westminster debate on the urgent need for Scottish independence.

The UK has lurched from one crisis to the next for years. The SNP Government does its best to mitigate the austerity first imposed by the last UK Labour Government in 2009 and continued by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition and subsequent Tory Governments. However, Scottish Ministers cannot stop the damaging effect of Liz Truss’ self-inflicted financial crisis. Inflation, now at a 40-year high, has already reduced Scotland’s budget by £1,700 million this year, meaning less for public services and pay.

The pound has fallen against the dollar and euro, while mortgage rates have risen by the highest percentage in a day since 1989.

Brexit - a miscalculation by former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron inflicted to solve an internal party problem - has been hugely damaging to Scotland’s economy. The value of Scottish exports has fallen by more than 13% in two years, costing £2,200 million.

Our hospitals, care homes, hospitality venues and industry struggle to find staff as the Tories’ hostility to EU workers means we have far more job vacancies than people to fill them. Astonishingly, Labour Leader Keir Starmer agrees with the Tories but cannot explain how to cut NHS waiting times without bringing in doctors and nurses from overseas, given rising patient demand and the years it takes to train specialist staff.

Labour is hand in glove with the Tories to keep Scotland trapped in this destructive and broken union and out of Europe. They would rather collaborate with the Tories than help Scotland build a better future as an independent country.

Meanwhile, we await with bated breath the latest Chancellor’s budget on 17 November while being prepared for ‘difficult decisions’ necessary to cover the cost of Tory failures. With their unwillingness to countenance an expanded windfall tax on those companies making huge profits from the energy crisis, once again, the burden of these ‘difficult choices’ will fall on those least able to afford them.

Renewed austerity may well make the financial pain that followed the last Labour Government look like a time of plenty.

The UK is failing, and Scotland can’t afford to stay shackled to it. The referendum we seek but which Sunak and Starmer are keen to prevent, will give us a choice over our future. Regardless of how one would vote in such a referendum it’s both arrogant and shameful that the UK party leaders and their Scottish branch offices seek to ignore the SNP Government’s clear mandate to hold one. The union between Scotland and England is supposed to be one of equals. Does anyone still believe that?



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