Douglas Ross criticises Sturgeon over IndyRef2 mandate
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The SNP led Scottish Government’s Programme for Government dubbed the Scottish Queens Speech will be delivered to MSPs by the First Minister on Tuesday. Next week’s Programme for Government will set out the priorities of the SNP-led administration for 2021/22.
The Scottish First Minister is expected to announce a £2.5 billion increase in spending for Scotland’s NHS at the heart of the programme.
It will also include measures to achieve a just transition to net-zero and confirm plans to introduce legislation in the coming year to establish a new National Care Service in Scotland by the end of the current Parliament in 2026.
But the Nats are also expected to include a pledge for progressing work on a second independence vote, with SNP Ministers arguing a referendum will help Scotland to recover effectively from COVID-19.
Holyrood opposition parties said the focus for this year’s Programme must be on economic recovery and not separation.
The Scottish Conservative said key targets should be set for Scotland to lead the United Kingdom in job creation rates and economic growth.
Party leader and Moray MP Douglas Ross said: “Scotland needs a bold plan for a jobs recovery, including a target from the government for the number of new jobs they will create.
“For too long, our economy has lagged behind under a government that treats businesses as an afterthought, when we should be leading the rest of the United Kingdom.
“Now would be the worst time to spike uncertainty by pushing for another divisive referendum.
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“It would be peak recklessness to risk jobs just now.”
A Scottish Labour source added: “Effective recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should be the priority for this SNP Government.
“This programme is about helping the Scottish people, not greedy Nicola Sturgeon and her band of nationalist ministers to push for a second vote.”
Meanwhile, former Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill claimed the Scottish Government’s ministerial team has grown to the extent that it is now bigger in actual numbers than Norway and in proportional terms bigger than Ireland.
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This is despite the fact that the two Independent countries have considerably greater power than Scotland over the economy, taxation rates, social security, foreign affairs and international affairs.
The Alba Party MP, who defected from the SNP in April, called on the Scottish First Minister to push for a second independence vote urgently.
He added: “We are seeing the Court of Queen Nic with the number of ministers now at the highest level ever in the history of Devolution.
“Under this Scottish Government progress on independence has stalled, despite there being a renewed mandate in the Parliament for a referendum.
“Meanwhile administering devolution has become the priority.
“The success of the Scottish Government in making progress on Independence as well as tackling the challenges facing the country in health, education, transport and jobs seems to be in inverse proportion to the number of Ministers appointed.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Maximising Scotland’s economic potential must be a national endeavour.
“We want to work with others to build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.
“Our forthcoming Programme for Government will help create the best conditions for employers and employees by supporting economic growth and creating secure and satisfying jobs which pay a fair wage.”
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