SNP’s economic paper is not a solution. It’s an indulgent distraction, says Rennie

By Lucy Ashton

Speaking the Scottish Government’s forthcoming paper on the economics of independence, Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP., right,  has branded the taxpayer funded effort “an indulgent distraction” and urged the government to focus on Scotland’s skills shortage as well as the cost-of-living crisis.

At the end of June, an Open University study surveyed 1,300 employers across the country and found that 70% of organisations are facing a skills shortage. 77% of those organisations said they experienced reduced output, profitability or growth as a result of the shortage.

The paper’s publication also comes in the wake of more evidence of the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. On Wednesday of last week, the Bank of England said that the number of people struggling to pay their mortgage would rise in 2023.

Mr Rennie said:  “It astonishes me that even as we face a skills shortage and an economic slowdown, the SNP are still determined to pursue a myopic agenda that would see us cut off trade with our closest partner, build borders and sever opportunities for growth. 

“The SNP are looking at the Conservative party’s economic chaos and saying “we want some more of that”.

“What’s even worse is that they are now touting a currency plan which would require vast cuts to Scottish public services like the NHS.

“This paper is not a solution to any of Scotland’s problems. It’s an indulgent distraction.

“The Scottish Government seem to have an utterly shambolic idea of what’s best for our economy. They have spent their time in government bungling industrial interventions and striking dodgy deals, while our skills and educational sectors have slipped down the international rankings.

“Businesses in Scotland are desperate for good workers but can’t get them. There’s a significant skills shortage but it’s hard to see how this new paper will address that.

“Rather than isolate the country, Scottish Liberal Democrats want to invest in education and small business, and harness our relationship with the rest of the UK to make Scotland a highly skilled country with first-class economic potential.”

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