SOCIAL Justice Secretary Shona Robison has hit back at suggestions that an independent Scotland would be “in the mire” and worse off than amid the current economic turmoil created by the UK Government.

The SNP MSP pointed out that the Scottish Government “cannot mitigate everything” the Tory Westminster Government imposes due to their finite budget.

Speaking on the BBC Sunday Show, Robison was asked if she would reconsider pushing for Scottish independence due to the economic outlook of the UK, something she strongly denied, adding that leaving the Union would allow Scotland to “do something different”.

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Following Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget on Friday September 23, the pound collapsed to a record low against the US dollar, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on Kwarteng to rethink his plans, the Bank of England (BoE) staged an emergency intervention to stop pension pots collapsing and mortgage interest rates are set to go through the roof.

Amid the economic chaos, Robison was asked to give reassurances to the Scottish public that the SNP government will mitigate the impact on households.

Pointing to existing policies to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, including the Scottish Child Payment and incoming rent freeze, she added: “We'll continue to take action, but we cannot mitigate everything and if public sector budgets are cut, as Professor Trainer pointed out, that will be devastating for the budget of the Scottish Government and will hamper what we can do.”

BBC journalist Martin Geissler then claimed that the crisis was to “an extent a consequence of massive borrowing”, and pointed out that borrowing is a large part of the SNP’s plans post-independence.

The National: Kwarteng's mini-budget caused an economic crisis in the UKKwarteng's mini-budget caused an economic crisis in the UK (Image: PA)

Robison replied: “Well, other countries have borrowed but they've not introduced the tax regime that the Tories have. If you look at Ireland they've just announced an 11 billion euro stimulus which is going to actually help households to the tune of over 2000 euros and that is a package that is a balanced package.

“It's not a package that benefits the rich.

“As I said the Resolution Foundation are saying that nearly half of the tax gains, the financial gains are going to the richest 5% in this country. That's not what other countries are doing. What they’re doing with that money is different than what the UK Government...”

Geissler interrupted to suggest that an independent Scotland would be in a worse position than under the current economic governance of Westminster.

He said: “If we had voted for independence in 2014, and we were still tied to the pound as we almost certainly would be, what would our borrowing rates be just now?

“Sterlingisation, no lender of last resort nothing available to us, we'd be deeply in the mire just now if we were a newly independent country wouldn’t we?”

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Robison replied: “No, I don't believe we would be...”

Geissler, interrupting again, said: “Really, what would our borrowing rates be?”

Robison said: “Well we're deeply in the mire at the moment Martin. We're deeply in the mire with the UK Government and this union that ties us in to the policies that are cutting taxes for the rich.

“If we had independence we'd be able to make her own decisions, we'd be able to borrow like other countries are doing but what we do with that money is what is important, and giving tax cuts to the rich and allowing bankers bonuses to be unfettered - these are not the right decisions for countries to make.

“Other countries, large and small, are making different decisions. It's this UK Tory Government that is making the wrong decisions and it will be the poorest who suffer for that.”

Geissler then asked Robison if she would reconsider the pursuit of Scottish independence amid such a “difficult, dangerous and frightening time”.

He said: “Is there any part of you that thinks this now might not be the time to create what perhaps could be the biggest tremor all of all in this part of the country and break away from the Union?

“It might just not be the right thing to do in a year from now?”

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Robison hit back: “Quite the opposite Martin actually, quite the opposite. I wish we had the levers here in Scotland to be doing something different and not being tied to a UK Tory government that is giving tax cuts to the rich and punishing the poor.

“With independence and powers over our own economic policy, we would not be going down that direction.

“I think if you ask people in the streets at the moment, what their preference would be, it would be to get away from this UK Tory government.”