Population Health Protection (Independence)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 6 October 2022.

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Photo of Michelle Thomson Michelle Thomson Scottish National Party

The First Minister will have seen the truly shocking findings by the University of Glasgow and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health that were published yesterday in the

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

. They show that 19,299 excess deaths in Scotland are likely to have been caused by United Kingdom Government’s economic policy. The academics also report that that translates into 300,000 deaths across the UK—deaths that lie squarely at the door of the Tories.

Does the First Minister therefore agree that it is essential for the protection of our population’s health that Scotland escapes Westminster control and the Tories for good, and that that can be guaranteed only with independence?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Yes, I do. The study that was published this week by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health is shocking, and it lays bare the real impact of austerity—the impact on people’s lives, which we see quite literally in the report.

The report is on the impact of past Tory austerity. We now face, unfortunately, a new period of Tory austerity. We have seen in recent days the estimate of what spending cuts will be and we know the impact that that will have on our public services and on people’s lives. We are watching a quite grotesque debate in the Conservative Party about whether it is right to cut the incomes of people on benefits—the lowest-paid people in our society.

If we want to chart a different course in Scotland—if we want to apply the values of respect and dignity in Scotland, as I believe most of us across the chamber do—we are not going to be able to do that for as long as we are tied to Westminster governance. That is one of many, many reasons why this country needs to be independent and why I believe that this country will be independent.