Do you plan to raise income tax if you are elected?

We believe that a successful, competitive economy is the bedrock on which a prosperous and just nation will be built. Delivering that success is at the heart of our vision for Scotland. Our approach will put Scotland in control.

It will deliver economic prosperity and improve public services. It will give us the opportunity to generate wealth and release the potential of a modern, prosperous, competitive nation.

Scotland is a wealthy nation. We have Europe’s fourth largest financial centre and three quarters of the EU oil reserves. However, our public services are struggling and living standards are low.

That said, the SNP will not increase income tax. You are already paying higher taxes for public services. Our job in government is to make sure that the extra money raised is used to deliver improvements in our public services like health, education and tackling crime.

And also to make sure that long term, sustainable investment in public services can be secured through a strong and growing economy.

That is why, with Independence, we will cut the taxes on growth and increase our competitiveness compared to our competitor nations and regions, particularly the south east of England.

This is critical if Scotland is to retain the skilled people and ideas we need if we are to be a successful 21st century economy.

Other small European countries have the power to compete on their own terms. They are led by politicians whose utmost priority is creating a better future for their people and their country. They have the advantage of sitting at Europe’s top table and of arguing for their own interests and industries.

Small EU countries are 35 per cent richer per person than large ones like the UK; they grow 64 per cent faster; they have 40 per cent lower unemployment; have deficits around a quarter of large countries like the UK; they have a balance of trade seven times more favourable; and they spend 36 per cent more on research and development.

We could do the same and more. Scotland has potential in abundance. We just have to release it.

Fact is we would be the eighth richest country in the world if Scotland were an independent state. But as part of the UK, we are nineteenth and falling.

For too long, Scotland has been led by politicians who say we cannot afford to be independent. Yet it is those same politicians who over the next five years will put the UK over £100 billion into the red. To those who say we cannot afford to be independent, we say: why the economic double standard?

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