MY job as Finance Secretary means delivering for the Scottish economy each and every day. But I know Scotland can do better, achieve more and reach higher if we had the powers of independence.

I’ve been working on the economic case for independence, an evidence-based case, and welcome the opportunity at SNP conference to debate our economic plan for an independent Scotland.

The plan, which I have proposed alongside depute leader Keith Brown, builds on the work of the Sustainable Growth Commission, on which I served, and the contribution of the party membership through our National Assemblies.

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The case for independence is simple. Decisions about Scotland should be made by the people of Scotland. Independence empowers us, gives us choices and allows us to tailor economic policy to suit Scotland’s needs.

But to actually win independence, we need to put forward a plan that persuades a majority of voters that an independent Scotland can flourish. To deliver our social policies we must have credible economic policies. Currency of course generates debate. In my view currency serves the economy, not the other way about.

In believing that an independent Scotland should ultimately have our own currency, just as other countries have – including Denmark within the EU, or Norway inside the single market, preparations should be complete for the first independent Parliament to be able to adopt a new currency, if they determine that the timing is right. But that is the key point – timing that suits the Scottish economy, and the ability to have choices only comes with independence.

The National:

Decisions being made for our interests in Scotland, not against our interests by governments we didn’t vote for.

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Keeping the pound in the meantime is sensible, popular and allows us to choose the optimal point of change. Independence offers hope, and positive change, but our fellow Scots also want reassurance, and anyone who knocked doors in the 2014 referendum will know that.

I have confidence that a future independent Parliament would make the right call on timing for an independent currency. There’s no need to set out an arbitrary timetable.

We believe in a fairer, more equal country. The economic plan for independence shows we can do it, and sets out how. We can match the success of our independent neighbours, some have their own currencies, some don’t. The only thing other small advanced economies have that we don’t is independence, that’s why we need to win.

So I look forward to the debate ahead. To have the best economic case to put to the people, then win, securing the powers necessary to deliver the more prosperous and fairer Scotland we seek.