NICOLA Sturgeon has published a new document laying out her plans for an independent Scotland.

At Bute House on Monday, the First Minister presented the third independence paper, outlining the economic and currency plans for an independent Scotland.

Ahead of the speech, Sturgeon said the country had an “abundance of skilled people, innovative businesses, and natural resources”, but warned: “Scotland’s economy is one of the best performing in the UK – however, the UK economy, particularly post-Brexit, is now lagging behind many EU and international comparators.

“The UK economic model is demonstrably failing and increasingly holding Scotland back. Independence is now essential to build an economy that works for everyone.”

The full 108-page paper, named "Building a New Scotland - A stronger economy with independence", can be read here.

Sturgeon launched her press conference by calling for Liz Truss's resignation in the wake of Jeremy Hunt's reversal of most of the mini budget.

She pledged that Scotland can become a wellbeing economy - recent polling published in The National found that if voters felt that independence would deliver higher pensions and an economy based on the health and happiness of its citizens, support would be at 61%.

"For Scotland, not being independent means we are being dragged down the wrong path too: one people in Scotland did not vote for," she told the press conference. 

"To build a more stable, sustainable economy - with fairness and human wellbeing at heart - independence is therefore essential.

"That is the fundamental point we make in this paper. Independence is not an abstract argument separate from people’s lives. It has at its heart the ambition - it equips us with the essential tools - to build a fairer, wealthier, greener, happier country." 

READ MORE: Downing Street issues response to Nicola Sturgeon's economic case for Scottish independence

The First Minister said many people have “big, fair” questions about an independent Scotland.

She said the Scottish Government would “openly and frankly” address issues like currency, debt, deficit and trade across the UK.

Sturgeon added: “There is an understandable human instinct to hunker down in the face of the storm and hope for calmer times.

“For the UK, this is not just a passing storm, the UK economy is fundamentally on the wrong path.”

The key questions

On currency, Sturgeon's proposals are the same SNP policy that has now been in place for several years. She described them as a "sensible and phased" approach.

The document states: "We propose that, on independence, Scotland would continue to use the pound sterling for a period before moving to our policy of adopting a Scottish pound. The change would take place as soon as practicable through a careful, managed and responsible transition, guided by criteria and economic conditions rather than a fixed timetable."

It goes on: "While Scotland is still using sterling, many aspects of monetary policy would continue to be set by the Bank of England. However, an independent Scottish Central Bank would be established with oversight of monetary and economic conditions in Scotland and with responsibility for financial stability."

Continuing to use the pound would not require a formal agreement with the UK Government, the publication says.

"The continued use of sterling would allow time for new institutions, including an independent Scottish Central Bank, to be established during transition and to build credibility, ensuring continuity for citizens and business during the phase immediately after independence."

Managing the Border with England after joining the EU

The document states that Scotland would make arrangements with the UK on the basis of EU, and through negotiations with Westminster.

It goes on: "Although there remains significant uncertainty about the final terms of the UK and EU relationship – and we hope that in time, common sense and hard economic reality will lead to a closer relationship than that envisaged now – for the purposes of this publication we assume that the arrangements for trade in the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) will be the basis.

"Under an arrangement called the Common Travel Area (CTA) Scotland would, like Ireland, retain freedom of movement within these islands, including the UK and Ireland."

Effectively, this would result in a similar border set up to the one seen between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

There would be some checks on goods crossing the Border, the document said.

"While, because of the UK decision to leave the EU, there would be some checks on goods between Scotland and the rest of the UK, people in Scotland could move freely in both these islands and the EU. We believe that the end result would be better for Scotland," it stated.

Managing finances

The paper sets out which new financial institutions will be needed for an independence nation. Sturgeon said preparation for this is "much more advanced" than it was in 2014. 

That is because Scotland now has its own tax and social security agencies, she said - and it's further evidence that "there have surely been few, if any, nations in history better prepared for independence than we are".

The FM explained that the Government will create an independent Scottish Central Bank, a Debt Management Office, and "significantly strengthen" the Scottish Fiscal Commission to basically do the work of the Office for Budget Responsibility.

"These institutions would operate independently of government and help ensure financial stability, transparent economic forecasting and performance monitoring, and a responsible, purposeful and efficient use of borrowing powers."


Sturgeon says that the deficit and debt an independent Scotland would start out with would be derived from the overall UK position.

Therefore the level of debt upon becoming independent would be determined by negotiations after a Yes vote.

"As was established in 2014, Scotland would not have legal responsibility for UK debt," the FM said. "We do, however, in my view, bear a moral responsibility."

"In light of that, and our desire for strong future partnership between Scottish and UK governments, we would seek a fair settlement on both debt and assets."

The First Minister said that due to current market turmoil in the wake of the now largely scrapped mini budget, it's not possible to make an estimate of Scotland's starting fiscal position.

She added: "Though the IFS has suggested that in 2022/23, Scotland’s deficit is likely to be similar to or lower than the UK’s."

Q&A with journalists

Taking questions from journalists about the launch of the new prospectus paper on Scottish independence, Sturgeon said the entry of an independent Scotland into the EU would not be a “particularly lengthy process”.

She told reporters: “Nobody with any credibility seriously suggests that Scotland would not be welcomed back into the European Union.

“And while there would be a process of negotiation, most people who know what they’re talking about on this issue are very clear that that would not be a particularly lengthy process.”

She also said it would not be “responsible” to set a timetable for an independent Scotland’s transition from using sterling to a new Scottish currency.

She said: “If you tie yourself into a timescale you end up doing it at a time that’s not optimal.”

The First Minister had earlier said the move to the new currency would be based on a set of requirements and criteria.