The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:49 am on 29th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat 9:49 am, 29th March 2007

The more important question is why the Scottish National Party voted to introduce a third-party right of appeal. Why did the SNP want to place that burden on business?

In the side columns of recent newspapers, members may have seen that a Scottish company has invented new artificial vein technology, which has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people around the world. I met representatives of that company last summer. A few weeks ago, they learned that their clinical trials had proved 100 per cent successful. That company, which is a University of Dundee spin-out that was supported by the Scottish Executive, has the potential to create many new jobs.

Our financial services sector is going from strength to strength. The strong results that the Royal Bank of Scotland recently posted—profits that were shared with its workforce—have allowed the bank to continue its overseas expansion, including a first big breakthrough in China, which counts as a tremendous success. Those financial services skills mean that we can compete globally to attract new jobs and businesses, including JP Morgan, Barclays, First Data and more.

Our challenge is to create an ever stronger economy that is strong on new environmental industries, technology, life sciences and other industries of the future. Our strength in the financial services sector will mean that we can pay our way in the world for decades to come.

We should not delay the development of devolution, but nor should we disrupt or destroy it. That is why the majority of Scottish people—more than 50 per cent—reject both the status quo and independence, and instead support more powers for the Scottish Parliament. That is the policy of the Liberal Democrats.