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UK BUDGET ANNOUNCED

Despite the spin from the Tories in London, Scotland’s budget will be lower in real terms that it was when the Tories came to power. It does not reverse £13.9bn of cumulative cuts or provide our people and services with the full support they need.

I was pleased that SNP calls to act on the tampon tax was heeded, and also my own calls to end the 20% tax on digital publications. However, many of the UK Government’s abhorrent policies remain. The two-child Tax Credit cap is still affecting 8,500 Scottish families. The minimum wage is still set below the real Living Wage. And the £200bn immoral and financial blackhole, Trident, will remain on the Clyde while children live in poverty, people go homeless, and families go hungry.

There was once again no strategy for the steel sector; no protection of workers’ rights; and no commitment to match the Scottish Government’s efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions.

Urgent action is needed to tackle the economic crisis coronavirus is causing: the UK Government should have matched the Scottish Government’s NHS spending. UK Statutory Sick Pay also lags behind the European average at £94 per week whereas Ireland is offering £266 – for all workers, including the self-employed.

The Scottish Government now needs clarity on what the UK Government’s coronavirus programme will means for spending here. Barnett consequentials must be passed on so we can effectively deal with the problem.

In summary, this year’s budget is a continuation of the budgets the Tories have been forcing on Scotland for ten years. Our economy is being undermined, our services are being hamstrung, and peoples’ incomes are being squeezed. With independence and all the powers at Scotland’s disposal, we could introduce a budget that meets the needs of people across Scotland to deliver for them and allow them to live a life of opportunity, prosperity and respect.

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SCOTS MPs BLOCKED ON NHS SPENDING BILL

Tonight, all Scottish MPs were blocked from voting on matters which would affect how much money Scotland would get in our block grant due to English Votes for English Laws (EVEL).

That means the Scottish people are being blocked from having their say over the decisions which affect our lives – again.

The UK is not a union of equals. With recent polling showing that support for independence has reached a majority, we must have our say so we can take control of all powers to build the country we want and not be treated as second class.

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BREXIT DAY

As successive UK Governments continue to ride roughshod over Scotland’s will, we must decide our own future – not have Boris Johnson decide it for us.

The First Minister has today announced that the SNP will seek to secure a binding referendum for the Scottish people. We will seek to do this by bringing together the elected representatives of Scotland: MSPs, MPs, the MEPs elected last year and council leaders – to come together to endorse a modern Claim of Right for Scotland through a new Constitutional Convention.

To declare that it is for the Scottish Parliament to decide whether and when there should be an independence choice and build support for that principle amongst civic Scotland.

Independence has always been backed up with a solid plan. In 2014, we produced ‘Scotland’s Future’. We will now produce the ‘New Scotland’ papers which will provide the information and answers people want on the details on how Scotland can make the transition from a Yes vote to becoming an independent country.

They will set out ideas and options for how we can use the powers of independence to build a better future – to grow a stronger and more sustainable economy, tackle poverty and inequality, better meet the climate challenge and expand opportunity for our country and for each and every person who lives here.

Scotland’s people are moving the country towards independence. Our will cannot be undermined and the SNP is fighting for a Scotland which will be able to make its own decisions. We can achieve that with independence.

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INDEPENDENCE LEADS IN POLLS

As the Scottish Parliament reaffirms its calls for an independence referendum, a poll has shown that support for independence has taken the lead.

We’ve had enough of Boris Johnson and his Tory pals deciding our future for us and undermining our economy and services.

The Tory UK Government cannot continue to run scared from the will of the Scottish people. We must have our say.

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£210 m PAID OUT OF SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND

Since established in 2013, the Scottish Government’s Welfare Fund has paid out £210 million has been paid to 347,045 low income households. The SNP is delivering for Scotland.

This is money granted to those in the most dire of need in order to mitigate the Tory Government’s austerity agenda attacking our communities.

As an independent country with full powers over welfare and other areas, Scotland can make the decisions to improve peoples’ lives and build on the work the SNP is already doing.

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MARION READY TO HIT CAMPAIGN TRAIL

JOBS, PUBLIC SERVICES AND SCOTLAND’S WILL KEY PRIORITIES

The SNP’s candidate for Motherwell and Wishaw, Marion Fellows, has said she is ready to fight the December General Election and will put jobs, public services and Scotland’s sovereignty first.

Elected as the Member of Parliament in 2015, Mrs Fellows acts as the SNP’s Small Business spokesperson at Westminster and has fought against Tory austerity policies such unfair disability assessments, unpaid child maintenance, low pay and precarious work, and the managed decline of the public Post Office network locally and nationally.

Locally, Marion has fought to protect libraries and bin collections from the Labour-Tory Council Coalition cuts, the Autism One-Stop Shop, Overtown village status; and called for action by the council on rat infestations, improvements to the railway bridge in Cleland and the Shieldmuir station park and ride, and litter and chip vans.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“I am ready to fight this election for communities in Motherwell, Wishaw and Bellshill. A vote for the SNP is a vote to protect Scotland’s jobs, public services and the democratic will of the Scottish people. I will fight Scotland’s corner against any UK Government and protect our right to decide our EU membership with a peoples’ vote. Scotland must have the right to choose its own future.

“If Labour aren’t fighting each other, they’re cosying up to the Tories by voting for Johnson’s damaging Brexit deal or being in coalition with them in North Lanarkshire Council. Labour are all over the place. But the SNP are clear: we want to stop the Tories and protect Scotland’s sovereignty.

“I am fighting for the disabled denied Personal Independence Payments; families pushed into poverty by Universal Credit; workers earning poverty wages on zero-hours contracts; the small businesses put to the bottom of the pile; the WASPI women denied their pensions; the children living in poverty who have been denied the support to secure them a promising future.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working for and representing communities over the past four years. I want to keep fighting for them.”

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Despite voting remain, Scotland has been consistently ignored by the UK Government over single market access throughout the whole Brexit process while Northern Ireland gets the advantage of continued access. Scottish Government compromises have been disregarded and a response hasn’t even been provided.

The Secretary recognises Northern Ireland’s special status, but doesn’t recognise an advantage in it – the epitome of doublespeak.

Only with independence will we actually get a Government making decisions in Scotland’s interests.

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FIRST MINISTER’S ADDRESS

Scotland is facing two futures: one as part of the UK, led by a Prime Minister that has broken the law, is determined to destroy our economy and services through a no deal Brexit and austerity, and who wants to tear our communities apart. Or we can have a future as an independent standing as equals amongst others around the globe and take control of our futures to secure the country that we want to live in.

Thankfully, before the end of this year, the First Minister will will demand the transfer of power that puts the legality of a referendum beyond any doubt. As support for independence has recent;y climbed to 50%, Westminster’s continued refusal to respect the sovereignty of the Scottish people to decide its own future is unsustainable and undemocratic.

Opposing the oppression of Catalan democracy; condemning the bloodshed of Turkey against the Kurdish people; a Scottish Child Payment with no Rape Clause or two child cap; and a pledge to scrap non-residential social care charges for all if a SNP Government is re-elected in 2021.

Human rights, peace and supporting our citizens – these are the values at the core of the SNP and the values that will be at the core of an independent Scotland.

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2014: FIVE YEARS ON

2014 feels like only yesterday. I fondly remember the days of the referendum and the feelings of hope and positivity people held. There was a political awakening in Scotland that has continued to this day. The people of North Lanarkshire had had enough of being side-lined by Westminster and having austerity inflicted on our communities and voted Yes.

Since 2014, a lot has happened. Scotland was given fewer powers than we were promised. We’re being taken out of the EU against our will despite being promised our membership was safe in the UK. We’ve seen more and more austerity forced on Scotland and our communities from London. We’ve seen a Westminster power grab on the Scottish Parliament. We’ve seen Westminster suspended. And we’ve seen hapless leaders like Theresa May and Boris Johnson who have made the UK a laughingstock and are taking us off a no deal cliff edge – a disaster for jobs and services.

Scotland is far from being an equal partner in the UK. But with independence, we can be an equal member in the EU and the world. We can take the decisions that affect us and our futures into our own hands. We can abolish foodbanks by building a full social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect where children, the disabled and the elderly get the support they deserve. Workers can earn a proper wage and enjoy stability free from zero hours contracts. We can fund our services and invest in jobs with a fair tax system where those with the ability to pay more pay their fair share.

As calls for a second referendum increase, Unionist parties aren’t outlining the positive case for staying in the UK. How can they? Instead, they are doing everything in their power to block democracy and the will of Scotland’s people and Parliament. They refuse to recognise that Scotland’s future is Scotland’s to decide.

There is so much for Scotland to gain from independence. I am looking forward to the day that we can take our positive message to the people once again.

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DICTATOR JOHNSON

Boris Johnson’s questioning of the independence of the Scottish judiciary is dictatorial and dangerous. Especially when the judgement concerns the shutting down of Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit.

When Johnson has a 100% losing record as Prime Minister, his closure of Parliament is an insult to democracy and all the people who live in it. It is also an insult to Scottish institutions which No. 10 sources view as beneath them and not equal with English courts. Scotland was told we were a member of a union of equals.

At best, Johnson is only exposing himself as a spoiled, Etonian toddler used to having his own way. Rather than take responsibility for his actions as a bumbling tinpot dictator, he’s trying to blame the judiciary. I suppose it would be everyone else’s fault if no deal Brexit were to occur and people couldn’t access the medicines they need.