Yes Vote 'Sells Young Scots Short'

15 July 2014, 06:21 | Updated: 15 July 2014, 06:22

Voting for independence in September's referendum would see the country "selling young Scots short'', Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is set to claim.

The Tory MSP will warn that a Yes vote in the referendum could deny future generations the "life chances they deserve''.

Ms Davidson will make a speech outlining the importance of staying in the UK to young Scots in Glasgow this morning.

During the address, she will insist that a vote to leave the UK would be "closing off avenues of opportunity for Scotland's young people that have existed for generations''.

Ms Davidson will add that "we'd be selling young Scots short'' if the ballot resulted in a vote for independence.

"Our young people are as dynamic and ambitious as their contemporaries in any other corner of the globe,'' she will argue.

"They've got what it takes to make it in life - the talent, the drive and the determination to make their mark on the world.

"It's our responsibility to make sure they get the best possible chance of achieving their full potential.

"So, when I vote on September 18, I'll cast my vote for No ... No to independence.

"But in doing so, I'll also be giving a resounding endorsement to Scotland staying in Britain, to Scotland advancing through partnership and not division, to delivering for the devolution generation, to ensuring future generations of Scots enjoy greater opportunities, not narrower horizons.''

Ms Davidson will tell the audience that young people "see the opportunities their parents had, and they want those opportunities too''.

She will claim a vote in favour of the union will result in a "strong, responsive Scotland, with the security and opportunities afforded by a larger UK''.

She will also stress: "Time and again our young people tell us that they want Scotland to stay in the UK.

"Tens of thousands of pupils and students in schools and universities right across the country have cast their ballot for Scotland to remain part of the UK in mock referenda, with overwhelming results.

"Let's listen to their voices as we go to the polls in a few weeks' time.

"Let's give them the future life chances they deserve - not pull up the ladder behind us.''

A spokesman for Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell branded the speech "the return of Project Fear''.

He said: "Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations on the planet.

"With independence we can make sure Scotland's great wealth delivers far more for people living here. That means more and better jobs, financial security and greater opportunities for our young people.

"That's why the latest polls show increasing numbers of younger voters are backing Yes.

"It is also why the No camp's self-styled 'Project Fear' is once again rearing its head, with Ruth Davidson resorting to crude scaremongering.''

The spokesman continued: "The Tory party have dismantled free higher education south of the border, are gutting the welfare system and privatising the NHS.

"They are systematically destroying the opportunities that generations have built and relied upon in a country that is already one of the most unequal in Europe.

"In the face of this political vandalism, it takes a breathtaking level of duplicity for Ruth Davidson to lecture young people on opportunities.''

Sarah-Jane Walls, operations manager for the pro-independence campaign Yes Scotland, said: "The Tory government in the 1980s - which Scotland massively rejected - consigned a whole generation of young people to the dole queue, proving that Westminster government doesn't work for Scotland.

"Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world - richer than the UK, France and Japan - but it doesn't feel like that for a lot of our young people.

"We've already seen, with the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament, what a Scottish Government can do - Scotland is the only country in Europe to have a dedicated minister for youth employment, which is paying dividends.

"Because we decide education policy in Scotland - not Westminster - Scots benefit from free education, and that will be protected by voting Yes.

"If we vote Yes, we'll have the powers needed to grow the economy and create jobs, meaning that our young people have more opportunities to build a career at home, rather than having to leave Scotland. We can also ensure that the minimum wage at least rises with the cost of living.

"With a Yes vote, we will deliver economic policies that put Scotland and our young people first, all of the time, and we'll no longer be subjected to economically damaging policies from Westminster governments we did not vote for.''