HERE is a fact that everyone should remember: Scotland is a wealthy country that more than pays its way. We are strong and prosperous, with huge resources that many other nations lack. But because we don’t have full control over those resources, under Westminster ’s control we do not match the economic performance of many countries of a similar size across Europe and beyond.

And it’s Scotland’s economy that covers every penny of the country’s day-to-day public services such as education, transport and policing. The Scottish Government balances its budget and Scotland generates enough tax to cover all devolved spending – despite what opponents of independence would mislead you to believe.

What we can’t do is borrow sufficiently to invest. It is what every other normal – and independent – nation does. But Scotland is not allowed to ... for no apparent reason.

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As a result, we have been held back by consecutive Tory governments which have dragged us down for too long. Scotland’s economy has been treated as an afterthought at best while resources have been poured into London and the south-east of England.

What the pandemic has demonstrated is that independent countries have the ability to adapt to deal with crisis situations, something Scotland would be more than capable of doing IF we were independent.

Countries the same size as Scotland have been able to react and implement measures to protect both people’s health and people’s jobs. Scotland has been unable to do that in the way we would prefer because we are reliant on Westminster and ordinary people are clearly not a Tory priority.

Under Westminster control, the UK is already lagging far behind our European neighbours in a huge range of measures of health, wealth and happiness.

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And the worst Brexit impacts on our economy have not even kicked in yet. But be in no doubt, the impact on workers and costs are already hurting businesses. And remember, Brexit was inflicted on us against our will, another consequence of Westminster control.

The National:

Some might say we should put economic recovery before independence. But you can’t have one without the other. For a strong, robust, green recovery we need independence. Why? Because quite simply, we know what happened last time the Tories were in charge of economic recovery.

After the crash of 2008, the Tories embarked on a decade of austerity, balancing the books on the backs of the most vulnerable – when there were far better alternatives – and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent Budget was a continuation of those callous priorities.

More austerity will undermine economic recovery and deepen inequalities. And Labour offers no hope for a change in direction at Westminster.

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Scotland can – and must – choose a different path. We can build an even stronger economy, a fairer economy, a greener economy which performs as well as our European neighbours – but not while we remain shackled to Westminster.

Scotland has all the talent, ingenuity and resilience to do things better. Our country is rich with natural resources, which drives economic growth and raises revenue for our public services.

Take our wind and rain, which are powering Scotland and keeping the lights on. Our renewable energy output has quadrupled in the past 10 years – that’s enough power for the equivalent of nearly nine million households. Alongside the energy benefits, there are the financial benefits too.

With the need to decarbonise the way we travel and heat homes, there is potential to unleash even more of Scotland’s immense renewables potential – driving green growth and creating thousands of jobs.

We’ve got the resources but our potential is constantly thwarted. Westminster rule is working against the creation of jobs and investment in the renewables sector in Scotland – like the recent outrageous and political decision to bypass Scotland to take a major carbon-capture investment scheme elsewhere, rather than the excellent project in the north-east of Scotland. Again, it comes back to our inability to properly borrow to invest in all our futures.

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The bottom line is that, despite all the many strengths of the Scottish economy, we need the full levers of control if we really want to be more prosperous and more equal.

To reject austerity and invest in our economy, our NHS and our public services, the people of Scotland will have the opportunity to choose independence and put Scotland’s future and Scotland’s recovery in Scotland’s hands.

This article was part of our eight-page independence special, with one million copies printed and distributed. Click here to find out more