UK

Scottish Independence: Salmond Claims Scotland Is Held Back By Westminster

21/05/2013 16:09 BST | Updated 21/05/2013 16:21 BST

Scotland's prosperity is being "held up" by being part of the United Kingdom, Alex Salmond has claimed.

The First Minister has published a paper showing the key areas he believes Westminster has hindered Scotland.

He pointed the finger at the UK government over capital spending cuts, oil revenues, the credit crunch, income inequality, a London-centric economy and the austerity drive.

The SNP's dossier was immediately dismissed by former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, who is leading the rival Better Together campaign, who asked: "Is that it?"

alex salmond

Salmond and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launch their report

"The great irony of today’s booklet is that the industries Alex Salmond rightly talks about as Scottish successes have been successful as part of the UK," Darling said.

Salmond said Scotland could "more than afford" to be an independent country.

The Scottish Government has published a paper, called 'Scotland's Economy: The Case For Independence', the day after the UK Government

published its own report raising concerns that savers and financial institutions could

be hit under plans for independence.

Speaking at bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis in Falkirk on Tuesday, Salmond said the campaign was "a marathon, not a sprint".

Voters in Scotland will be asked whether to decide on the independence debate in a referendum on 18 September, 2014.

Salmond predicted the yes campaign would "gain strength as we move towards September 2014".

"We have some surprising allies,'' he said.

"Just this weekend Denis Healey casually admitted that 'of course the Treasury underestimated the extent of Scotland's oil and gas resources because they didn't want people to vote for the SNP".

"When you get to Dennis Healey's age you don't mind telling the truth, and he said of course Scotland could prosper as an independent country.

"When we get our previous opponents admitting the truth and the reality, then that is an important aspect of the debate.'"

He added: "When you're fighting a positive campaign then you realise that we are in a marathon to next September, not a sprint.

"The no campaign bogey stories will dissolve in the light of day as time goes on, like the European one has already. We now know that the European issue is now playing as a positive for the yes campaign.

Salmond cited a claim that the UK Treasury deliberately undervalued Scotland's oil in the 1970s as evidence that Westminster's estimates on the costs of independence should not be trusted.