Nicola Sturgeon grilled on 'economic cost' of independence
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Nicola Sturgeon was left squirming as Channel 4 News journalist Ciaran Jenkins confronted her on independence. He pointed to the huge economic cost of independence, prompting Ms Sturgeon to claim all the forecasts were “completely out of date”. Viewers branded the interview a “complete car crash” from the SNP’s perspective, pointing out the party leader appeared to “become flustered even by a gentle interview”.
Earlier this week, the SNP promised a “transformational” spending increase for frontline NHS services, as Nicola Sturgeon unveiled their manifesto for May’s election.
On Thursday, the First Minister outlined a £2.5billion increase in NHS spending in the next five years if her party is re-elected on May 6, along with an £800million boost in social care funding.
She said much more could be done for Scotland if it was independent.
The SNP also pledged to freeze income tax and to hold an independence referendum by the end of 2023, provided the Covid crisis is over.
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Mr Jenkins explained: “Sturgeon wants this election to be the gateway to independence.
“But, when we asked her about the economics behind it and she told us the figures behind the SNP’s own economics report – the growth commission – from just three years ago are now completely out of date.”
Mr Jenkins asked the SNP leader: “Have you conducted an analysis of the economic consequences of independence?”
Ms Sturgeon said: “When we put the choice of independence in the form of a referendum we will do the analysis at that point and let Scottish people decide.”
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The Channel 4 news reporter responded: “Well, experts from the LSE have done some detailed research and they estimate that trade costs between Scotland and the rest of the UK would rise by 15 percent after independence in an optimistic scenario and by 30 percent in a pessimistic scenario.”
Ms Sturgeon said this analysis was a “very, very narrowly-based assessment and it didn’t take into account the wider benefits of independence to Scotland’s economy”.
Mr Jenkins rebuked this: “But you don’t have your own costs!
“If you are going to undermine theirs, you should have done the maths yourself.
“Has nobody ever said to you, frankly, Ms Sturgeon, candidly, I wish we had this information about what independence might mean for Scotland’s economy. Because, I hear that a lot.”
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Ms Sturgeon said that people will have the detailed figures and the vision for the country prior to the vote – “just not now”.
She added: “The figures there are completely out of date. We will do these things in the proper, ordered way.
“They will not only have the detail but the vision of taking the country into our own hands.”
Viewers remarked: “The only reason why the SNP can afford this is because it’s part of the UK. This will all be cut if Scotland goes independent…”
Another noted: “Where’s this money going to be coming from? Westminster probably!”
Others said: “I am getting tired of this independence thing, just let them go already and let them manage their economy and let’s see if they can manage it with a lack of capital and investment from Westminster.”
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