Critics brand new SNP policies ‘unrealistic’ and ‘offensive’

·3-min read
Nicola Sturgeon - Getty
Nicola Sturgeon - Getty

A litany of radical and costly policies which the SNP will say would be rolled out in an independent Scotland have been branded “unrealistic” and “offensive” by critics. 

A leaked draft agenda for the nationalists’ conference next month reveals that members will be asked to endorse proposals for a new commission which it is claimed would show how a hard border with England would “reinvigorate” the economy of an independent Scotland. 

The plan comes despite warnings that trade barriers with Scotland’s largest export market would prove devastating to businesses.

Proposals are also set out for a universal “jobs for all” scheme which would see everyone entitled to employment in the public sector. 

SNP members will then be asked to back more generous state pensions, which would see the pension age for everyone reduced to 65 or less in a Scottish state, and a utopian citizenship scheme in which every resident, except serious criminals, would be entitled to a Scottish passport.

It is also claimed that Trident nuclear weapons would be removed from Scottish waters within just three years of independence day.

There is no detail of how improved pensions or a universal job guarantee would be paid for, with the most recent figures showing Scotland has a deficit of £15.1 billion and benefits substantially from fiscal transfers from the Treasury, which would end with independence.

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Unionist politicians pounced on the plans for a borders commission as particularly unrealistic. Should the SNP achieve its aim of joining the EU as an independent state, there would be inevitable trade barriers between Scotland and England.

Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish Secretary, said: “The idea that creating a hard border with England would be good for Scotland is offensive, and will build economic and social barriers between people at a time when we should be bringing communities together.”

The conference motion calls for a new “borders commission” to be set up which would develop a “well-formulated and enacted plan for regeneration focusing on border gateways”.

It is claimed this could “reinvigorate the economy” of the south of Scotland and “an independent Scotland as a whole”. 

While Nicola Sturgeon has pointed out that the EU market is significantly larger than the UK’s, more than 60 per cent of Scottish exports go to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while just 19 per cent go to the EU.

Motions backed by SNP members at conference become official party policy.

Donald Cameron, shadow constitution spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “These unrealistic proposals just go to show how completely of touch the SNP is.

“By claiming that a hard border at Berwick will benefit Scotland, they are blatantly ignoring the hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland which rely on the UK single market.

“None of these proposals is supported by either evidence or valid arguments, especially since Nicola Sturgeon openly admitted during the election campaign that the SNP had not undertaken any economic analysis of their case for independence.”

The pensions plan to be debated by the SNP states that UK pensions are among the lowest in Europe and that in an independent Scotland there would be “ambitious plans to improve this situation” including that everyone would receive the payments at “age 65 or younger”. 

In the UK, the pension age will eventually rise to 68. 

Under a citizenship plan, it is stated that every Scottish resident would qualify for a passport on day one of independence, regardless of income or current immigration status, suggesting illegal immigrants would qualify. 

It suggests only those convicted of “serious criminal offences” would be left out, although other unspecified “exclusion criteria” could also apply.

The SNP declined to comment.

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