Scottish Daily Mail
We’d have too much debt, says Leonard
THE SNP’s economic case for independence is out of date because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Scottish Labour’s leader.
Richard Leonard yesterday said the debts racked up tackling Covid across the UK will have further weakened the economic blueprint for independence.
In an interview with the Mail, he also insisted that there should not be a referendum in the next five-year term of the Scottish parliament.
The SNP’s Growth Commission previously estimated that it would take up to ten years to bring the deficit of an independent Scotland down to sustainable levels.
Mr Leonard, who accused Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford of ‘sabre-rattling’ by talking up the prospect of an independence referendum as early as next year, said: ‘In the lead-up to the SNP conference, it’s pretty clear the Andrew Wilson Growth Commission is now way out of date. It’s a pre-pandemic report which doesn’t take into account the huge debt which has been built up.
‘This idea there is some virtue of setting up a separate currency and finding £100billion to prop that up just doesn’t make any sense.’
Mr Leonard said that at next year’s Holyrood election his party would try to ‘stop support for the SNP reaching a level that would give it a mandate for a second referendum’.
But he admitted he does not expect to sell himself to voters as the next First Minister, and is instead targeting second place, ahead of the Tories.