Dr McLeod said:
“Independence is about ensuring that the Scottish Parliament has all the powers that it needs to shape the economic and social future of this country. It is about ensuring that the decisions that affect the people who live and work here are taken in a Parliament that is elected by and directly accountable to the people in Scotland. It is about safeguarding our citizens from Westminster policies that seem intent on punishing the weak and the most vulnerable in our society while spending billions of pounds on a nuclear arsenal that is based on the Clyde.
“Independence is about guaranteeing that our young people will have opportunities to build their future here in Scotland by maintaining access to our universities on the principle of the ability to learn and not the ability to pay; and by making available a training or apprenticeship place for all young people between the ages of 16 and 19 who are not already in education, employment or training.
“Despite our best efforts in this Parliament, we will not achieve the truly radical transformation in Scotland’s economy and society that the people in Scotland are calling on the Parliament to deliver unless we, as a Parliament, are equipped with the powers that we need to do so. That means giving the Parliament powers over taxation and welfare policy, which I argue is essential if we are to address the deep-seated problems that continue to afflict many in our society.”
Speaking after the debate, Dr McLeod added:
“More and more people are moving towards a Yes vote as evidence reveals the gains for people, families and communities when decisions are taken in Scotland.
“I believe people will grasp this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and give ourselves the powers to build a better country, a more prosperous country and a fairer country.”
Notes to Editors:
Dr McLeod’s speech can be found here:
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SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod has said that a yes vote in next year’s referendum will allow Scottish citizens to take control of their own destiny and build a Scotland that reflects their values and aspirations and their principles of economic and social justice.