A GRASSROOTS organisation set up to help build support for independence has paused its work.

Voices for Scotland was established in April last year after Nicola Sturgeon unveiled plans for a second independence before May 2021.

But yesterday a statement issued by the organisation’s chair, Audrey Birt, said it was pausing its campaign in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the decision was in light of social distancing policies to beat the spread of infection. Two staff members have been put on furlough.

“We are getting in touch with you to let you know that the Voices for Scotland board has made the very difficult decision to pause our campaign during the Covid-19 crisis,” it said.

“This does not mean that Voices for Scotland is stopping campaigning for Scottish independence for good, but we are pausing our campaign activities while we as a society are navigating the pandemic.

“Due to the new regulations and advice on social distancing to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the majority of our campaign activities cannot currently take place and our campaign organisers are more than limited in what they can do.”

The statement said that financial donations had helped the organisation produce materials which had enabled it to communicate with undecided voters on the issue of independence, but added the life and death matter of Covid-19 was uppermost in the public mind.

It said: “We recognise that right now other issues are taking priority in people’s lives and there is no space for politics while so many are literally fighting to survive the virus and the economic strain it will have on so many people’s life.”

The statement went on to say the debate over Scotland’s future would resume once the crisis had settled.

“On the other side of this crisis, more than ever we will need to come together as a community and talk about what country we want to live in and there is a great opportunity for people to shape this debate,” it said.

“Right now though, as a society, we are asked to do our bit to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of Covid-19 and therefore we can no longer operate.”

“We took the decision to furlough our two members of staff and pause the campaign while we are asked as a society to practice social-distancing. This decision is also to ensure that our limited funds will not end before this crisis does and we will be able to pick up our activities once we are back to what will be our new normal,” it said.

The announcement follows a decision by the Scottish Government to pause work on holding a second independence referendum this year.

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