Scottish Parliament: Independence Referendum - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:29 pm on 20th July 2022.

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Photo of Lord Offord of Garvel Lord Offord of Garvel The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland 3:29 pm, 20th July 2022

The noble Lord referenced the £20 million that the Scottish Government have ring-fenced and the 20 civil servants put together for this referendum. The minute the First Minister announced that she wanted to publish a prospectus for independence, the Secretary of State for Scotland said:

“right-minded Scots would agree that using civil service resources to design a prospectus for independence is the wrong thing to be doing at this time.”—[Official Report, Commons, 8/9/21; col. 289.]

In the meantime, there have been a number of glossy documents, the first of which was Independence in the Modern World. Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland? The SNP has been in power for 15 years, and we can see that Scotland is not wealthier, happier or fairer. We can go through the list: our education system—where I was educated—has gone from outstanding to average, there are record queues in the NHS, 20% of children live in poverty, and ferries are rusting on the Clyde while people cannot go on their holidays. The UK Government are firmly of the view that the Scottish Government should focus on the matters that Scottish people want them to deal with, which is how to make their lives better, and not fuss with another, pretend referendum.