By Dumbarton Democrat reporter
Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled her party’s “transformational” manifesto but said she could go further if Scotland was independent.
She outlined a £2.5 billion increase in NHS spending in the next five years if her party is re-elected on May 6, along with an £800 million boost in social care funding.
But residents in Dumbarton, Helensburgh and Vale of Leven have differing opinions on what is most important as one said the town is “stuck.”
One resident told Channel 4 News: “The top issue is independence.”
Another added: “I just think it is the recovery.”
While a third person said the area is not “on the up”.
She said: “Honestly, no. I feel like it’s stuck.”
Nicola Sturgeon, above, has said she has no plans to call a separate referendum on whether an independent Scotland should join the European Union.
She said a “detailed prospectus” would be put to Scots ahead of any second independence referendum, and she claimed most people would want to be part of the EU again.
She was pressed on the issue as she launched the SNP manifesto for May’s Holyrood election.
If the SNP wins that vote, Ms Sturgeon has already made plain her desire for there to be another ballot on the future of the UK before the end of 2023.
Asked if there would then be a referendum on joining the EU after that, Ms Sturgeon told journalists: “That’s not my policy.”
She added: “Just as in 2014 when people had a detailed prospectus on which to base their vote, that is my intention for a future independence referendum too.”
She insisted the case for independence is “winning hearts and minds across Scotland almost every single day”.
She claimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson is aware of this, as she said that is why he has so far blocked calls for another vote on the issue.
Ms Sturgeon said if next month’s election results in a majority of MSPs who support independence, the “power of democracy” means it will be impossible for the UK Government to continue to stop such a poll.
She said: “I believe in the power of democracy. And I believe it is not just wrong but unsustainable for any politician to stand in the way of democracy.”
Former SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, who left the party recently to join Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party, has claimed there is “no fact” in the First Minister’s claims that an SNP win would lead to the Prime Minister granting a Section 30 order for a referendum.
But Ms Sturgeon insisted: “If Scotland votes for a majority, a simple majority, in this election of MSPs proposing an independence referendum, this is not about requesting anything from Boris Johnson, other than demanding he respects Scottish democracy. Let’s make that very clear.”