What would independent Scotland look like? 5 key things in SNP blueprint

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A blueprint commissioned by the SNP into what policies an independent Scottish government would enact if Nicola Sturgeon’s independence wish is granted has been published. The report sets out a range of plans on welfare, employment, public finance and immigration.

The publication wrote: “Our report is not a costed manifesto for parliamentary terms or, indeed, for just one political party.

“ It is a blueprint, a route map to a more socially just Scotland – one that focuses on how we should make decisions, with illustrative proposals for policy choices that can help us build a wellbeing society.

“We consider the opportunities in the short term and what is achievable with the powers of devolution.

“Our focus, however, is on how much more we can achieve with independence.”

Tax changes

The report advises shifting the burden of taxation away from income and onto wealth.

The proposal proposes raising tax on high earners and replacing council tax altogether.

Those with assets above £500,000 could be subject to higher tax in an independent Scotland, although the report does acknowledge practical difficulties in implementing such a policy.

The implementation of a ‘land value tax’, which would see the value of land rather than of buildings or infrastructure taxed by the government and payable by the landowner rather than the tenant.

The commission also suggests the implementation of “sin taxes” where taxes on items such as alcohol, tobacco, or environmentally harmful activities are imposed in a bid to change behaviour and raise revenue in the process.

It also calls for an “excess profits tax”, which would see sectors which have benefited from the pandemic such as online commerce pay extra.

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New drugs policy

Scotland has one of the highest drugs death records in Europe

The commission states that it supports a “safe consumption model” once Scotland is independent and adds a citizen’s assembly could look at further policy around addiction such as decriminalisation for personal drug use.

It adds the Scottish Government should explore “every avenue” to allow safe consumption rooms and spaces through existing Holyrood powers and expand further residential rehab.

Universal basic income

Socialist policies like universal basic income could be tested as a way of reducing poverty in Scotland.

UBI gives all residents in Scotland a monthly, unconditional payment that is not means-tested.

A trial is being set up to take place in Wales over whether such a system would work, and it could be likely that the SNP will look to this trial for inspiration when creating their own scheme.

Reestablishing freedom of movement

The commission backs a much more relaxed approach to immigration, allowing free movement from EU states to resume.

It proposes allowing foreigners to obtain visas if they live in areas at risk of depopulation, and putting asylum seekers to work.

The report adds migration into Scotland should “encourage and enable long-term settlement” in Scotland, aiming to attract people across Europe and the world to move to the country.

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