THE Scottish Government has published the latest in a series of white papers looking to spell out the case for independence.

The newest white paper, the 12th in the Building a New Scotland series, focuses on “education and lifelong learning in an independent Scotland”.

It states that a right to free tuition will be “enshrined” in Scottish law from the first day of independence through an interim constitution, and argues that decisions on child poverty and parental leave can help to improve outcomes.

In a foreword, Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said: “Devolution has delivered transformational improvements in the life chances of our children and young people.

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“We can proudly show how decisions made in Scotland have improved the lives of our young people and independence would give us the opportunity to make all decisions in Scotland, rather than leaving far too many of them to a UK Government whose actions are holding us back.”

She adds: “Despite the UK being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we know that too many lives are impacted by the scourge of poverty – impacting on outcomes for our children, and their future life chances.

“Making Scotland the best place to grow up means continuing to build on the strong action we have taken to date, including investment in the game-changing Scottish Child Payment.”

Gilruth was joined by Independence Minister Jamie Hepburn as they launched the paper at an event at a nursery near Cupar.

Key points in the paper include:

  • A pledge to expand childcare provision. The paper also says that work has started on a digital service which will “help parents and carers to find, access and better manage their childcare arrangements in Scotland”.
  • A promise to fully incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scottish law post-independence.
  • Expansion of voting rights so people aged 16 and over can vote in all Scottish elections.
  • Three days of paid leave after a miscarriage, as part of a wider expansion of paid parental leave for both mothers and their partners.
  • A “bespoke” student loan system that “would enable more flexibility in the delivery of student loans and would not be subject to the confines of Treasury approval”.
  • Rejoining the EU would allow for the rejoining of schemes such as Erasmus.
  • International graduates of Scottish universities would be allowed to apply to stay in Scotland for a further five years, after which they would become eligible for settlement, potentially leading to naturalisation as a citizen.

The paper concludes: “Independence would place the normal economic levers that other countries enjoy in Scotland’s hands and, crucially, open up a range of opportunities to do things differently. As this paper has described, different choices could be made on a range of key issues, like children’s rights, tackling child poverty, support for childcare costs and parental leave.”

It adds: “The shape of future Scottish governments, and the decisions they take, would be solely up to the people of Scotland. Ending the democratic deficit which sees decisions made at Westminster would improve the life chances for our children and young people, giving future governments real power to enact the transformative change needed to protect our future generations.”

You can find the full paper on the Scottish Government website.