Alex Salmond: Independence 'Key' To Scotland's Economic Growth
Independence is the key to Scotland's future economic growth, Alex Salmond is to argue during a lecture to the London School of Economics (LSE) .
Scotland's First Minister is to identify the specific measures that an independent administration needs to boost economic growth - including responsibility for taxation, greater control over investment in energy and borrowing powers to stimulate capital investment.
Salmond will argue that the economic case for Scottish independence is "absolutely clear", stressing that the measures needed to boost the economy, create jobs and build a fairer society demand Scotland to have full financial control in Edinburgh rather than at Westminster.
"Full responsibility for fiscal policy while remaining within a common Sterling currency area will give Scotland the maximum degree of flexibility and control of the key financial levers we need to take the decisions best suited to our own economic interests.
"With responsibility for taxation, including corporation tax, we will be able to target support to specific areas and industries, such as our vast energy sector or the computer games industry, where Scotland has a real edge on international competitors in terms of cutting-edge innovation."
He will also argue that control of air passenger duty can "encourage direct air links with the rest of the world and thus stimulate tourism and economic growth".
The first minister will tell the LSE that Scotland's restricted borrowing powers make it difficult to stimulate further economic growth in the country.
Salmond will say: "Scotland is not immune from current global economic challenges. But once we are equipped with the same powers that independent countries around the world take for granted we will be very well placed to thrive economically in the years to come."
In a speech in Liverpool on Monday Mr Salmond said the regions of England could benefit if Scotland became independent.
He argued the structural changes that would be required if Scotland left the UK could result in a system that would "surely reflect the needs of the English regions better than the current arrangements".
The first minister delivered the Roscoe lecture to an audience of 1,000 people at John Moores University in Liverpool, and he accused Westminster leaders of being "out of touch with the masses" and of failing to present a "positive vision of the future of England".
He argued: "Scottish independence would require a rethinking of the structures of the rest of the UK.
"It would be for England, Wales and Northern Ireland to decide how this came about, but the end result would surely reflect the needs of the English regions better than the current arrangements."
The Scottish National Party leader also echoed the words of William Gladstone, who in a speech in Liverpool in 1886 said: "All the world over, I will back the masses against the classes."
The appearance at the prestigious university - before an audience comprised of LSE academics and students as well as members of the public - is the third in a series of lectures Mr Salmond has delivered south of the border within the last month.