NICOLA Sturgeon has hailed the Growth Commission report as an “important foundation” on the road to independence.

The report, compiled under the chairmanship of Andrew Wilson, makes several recommendations, confronting the economic issues that dominated the 2014 referendum vote. The report sets out the case for an independent Scotland retaining sterling before any orderly transition to its own currency, the setting up of a central bank, puts the cost of the formation of a state at £450m, and proposes an open migration policy aimed at increasing the country’s population.

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Describing it as a document that “treats people like grown-ups”, Sturgeon pointed out that the report did not shy away from the challenges ahead. “Change is inevitable. Brexit assures that is so,” she said.

The report has a crucial, strategic role in addressing the concerns of some voters over the economy of an independent Scotland.

“There was a fear element in 2014 and I don’t say that in any pejorative sense because to some extent that it is understandable,” said the First Minister. “But one thing has completely changed. In 2014, the No campaign tried to portray the debate as being between a safe status quo and something unknown. There is no safety option now.

“The UK is changing, the UK coming out of the EU. In a sense, what we should fear most is being taken down a damaging path we have no control over.”

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Praising the report as innovative and bold, she added: “We have the opportunity to think about how we fashion the policies that maximise the vast potential we have. That is a more energising debate. It will not take away every uncertainty in the minds of people – nothing can do that – but it can give people confidence that we have the ability to do better.”

She stressed that the commission’s findings only represented recommendations and not party policy. “The SNP and the wider Yes movement will want to look at all aspects. I suspect the currency aspect is one that the SNP will look at very carefully. My gut feeling is that it is in the right ballpark,” she said.

The report will now enter the policy process with the national assembly in the autumn looking at each section.

Sturgeon, who received its 350 pages on Monday, said: “It makes me feel very optimistic and I do a job where I am privileged to feel enthusiastic about the country every day.”

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She added: “We are an incredible country with incredible assets that most other countries don’t enjoy. What makes me particularly enthused about this is that it takes us on to a debate about maximising our potential not limiting the damage of something we didn’t vote for.

“That does not mean everyone will agree with every aspect of it. It does not mean it will persuade everybody overnight of independence but it is much, much better to be having that debate about how we fulfil our potential of our country rather than the alternative.”

Sturgeon also stressed that the economic argument was only one strand of the case for independence, adding: “It is a very important aspect, understandably, for people who worry about their living standard, how to pay their rent and mortgage. It an aspect we have to be very strong on and this report helps with that.”

But she added: “There is a democratic case for independence, getting the governments we vote for, not being dragged out of the EU against our will. We also have to ensure we can speak with a progressive voice for peace in the world.”