Speaking following the debate Dr McLeod commented:
“Since its creation in 1999 the Scottish Parliament has taken many decisions which have improved people’s lives in Scotland from free bus travel for pensioners to free personal care, the abolition of prescription charges and the ban on smoking in public places. All of these measures have helped to improve people’s lives in Dumfries & Galloway.”
“There has been a distinct quality to the decisions taken by the Parliament which have defended the principles of universalism while these have been steadily dismantled in England. The Scottish Government and Scotland’s Parliament can still protect the NHS from the privatisation agenda which now runs unchecked south of the Border.
“All of these things point to one thing; that the people of Scotland have benefitted most when decisions about Scotland have actually been taken in Scotland. And the Scottish Government’s programme for the coming year seeks to build on those successes.
“In the field of public health, the legislation to integrate adult health and social care, the Mental Health and Adults with Incapacity Bill and the proposals to create a food standards agency for Scotland will all contribute to the important task of improving the country’s health and wellbeing.
“If this Parliament is to build fully on those successes and be in a position to tackle all the underlying causes of our public health problems, not least the considerable inequality in income that has come to characterise this country under successive Westminster Governments, it must have access to the full range of economic and social policy powers.
“That is what independence is all about. It is about putting the people first and ensuring that the politicians for whom they vote have the powers that they need to deliver the policies that they want and to create the type of Scotland in which they want to live.”
Dr McLeod’s speech can be found here: