Swinney Hails Economic Growth Plans

19 June 2014, 06:16 | Updated: 19 June 2014, 06:20

Finance Secretary John Swinney has called on those opposed to independence to set out their own proposals to grow Scotland's economy.

Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government has already published plans to reindustrialise the country under independence, with a target of boosting manufacturing output by almost a third by 2030.

He made the call to his opponents ahead of his speech at a conference on Scotland's future in Edinburgh.

He said: "Becoming an independent country is about having the tools to grow Scotland's economy, creating more and better paid jobs, so that everyone in Scotland can benefit from our national wealth.

"We have set out how increasing employment, productivity and our population, by ensuring people can fulfil their career opportunities in Scotland, could further strengthen Scotland's economy and provide an additional #5 billion of tax revenues a year in Scotland by 2029-30 for investment in the economy and our public services.

"In contrast, those opposed to independence have had nothing to say on how they would address Scotland's economic challenges or seize our opportunities.''

He added: "There are no proposals from those opposed to independence to boost Scotland's productivity performance, to bring our investment in research and development up to the level of other European nations or to create more skilled jobs in Scotland.

"There are no proposals from those opposed to independence to get more women in Scotland into work, to increase childcare or to ensure skilled graduates trained at Scottish universities can work in Scotland.''

The Scottish Government's plans for manufacturing were announced by the First Minister last week.

In the long-term, the strategy could see a 50% rise in exports, boosting employment by more than 100,000 jobs, Alex Salmond said.

Mr Swinney is due to address the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland conference, where speakers also include Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, businessman Jim McColl, and Keith Cochrane, chief executive of Weir Group.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We welcome this report which finds that educational attainment in Scotland has improved.

"This is the latest endorsement of Scottish education following ONS' recent report that revealed Scots as the best educated in Europe. New figures published this week show the proportion of school leavers staying in a positive destination after leaving school reached 90% in March 2014 - the highest level on record.

"We recognise that there is still work to be done to close the attainment gap and the Scottish Government is committed, alongside our partners, to ensure every pupil in Scotland is able to fulfil their potential as well as reducing child poverty. However, only with the full powers of independence will we truly be able to do everything we can to reduce poverty and close the attainment gap.''