“THIS is how we’re going to win independence.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s former leader at Westminster, has high hopes for a soon-to-be-published independent report into growing the Scottish economy before and after a Yes vote.

The Ross, Skye, and Lochaber MP commissioned two independent experts – Sir Martin Donnelly and Professor Dominic Houlder – to conduct the research back in February, and it is about to bear fruit.

On Thursday, July 13, the experts’ report will be published at an event in London, and Blackford is confident it will significantly contribute to a route to Scottish independence.

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“This is a paper that will give us a roadmap to growing the Scottish economy,” he told The National. “This is how we’re going to win independence.

“This is the economic case and how the Scottish Government are going to deliver it.”

Blackford went on: “Next week is our opportunity to show that we can map an industrial future for Scotland.

“We can deliver that stronger, greener economy, deliver sustainable economic growth, drive investment into the Scottish economy – for a purpose: driving up productivity, delivering better high-quality jobs and making sure Scotland has got the taxation receipts that allow us to invest in our public services."

After stepping back as the SNP’s leader at Westminster, Blackford was made the party’s business ambassador by then leader Nicola Sturgeon. In the role, he has been leaning on two decades of experience in the finance industry.

The National:

He commissioned Donnelly and Houlder (above, left and right respectively) to carry out independent research into “a roadmap for policy makers that can change the landscape for green industrial development in Scotland”.

A former top civil servant, Donnelly was the permanent secretary of the Department for International Trade until 2017.

He currently serves as the president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland.

Houlder, who like Blackford is a crofter on the Isle of Skye, is an Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He is also a lifetime vice president of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The pair have been conducting interviews with key stakeholders in business and academic spheres as they look to draw up their report.

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Speaking to The National’s Holyrood Weekly podcast in June, Blackford said he would be “assisting” First Minister Humza Yousaf and Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray in making the industry case for independence even after stepping down as an MP.

He told this paper that the SNP’s new leader had been supportive of his goals as the report was being drawn up.

“If anything, he wants me to strengthen and deepen [the business ambassador] role,” Blackford said. “I have to think about how I can devote the time to that.”

Blackford further said that the research would be titled “Mapping Scotland's Industrial Strategy”.

The report is due to be published on Thursday, July 13.