Nationalist leader predicts independence for Scotland by 2017

November 14th, 2007 - 2:43 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov.14 (ANI): Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has said Scotland could become an independent country by 2017.
The Daily Mail quoted Salmond as making this assessment when he launched the Scottish Government’s economic growth strategy document.
The strategy includes a series of targets for Scotland to achieve by 2017, including matching the economic growth rate of small independent EU countries by then.
In the shorter term, the strategy has a target of matching the UK’s economic growth rate by 2011.
Salmond told reporters in Glasgow that the 2011 target could be achieved with the powers that Scotland has at present as part of the UK - but not the wider aims.
“What you can take from the 2017 target is that we are confident we are going to have the (economic) levers by the time we get to 2017,” he said.
He later expanded: “It would be much easier if we had the full powers of an independent country. Therefore I was anticipating being in that position by 2017.”
The prediction should be taken with a hint of caution as Salmond had previously predicted that Scotland would be independent by 2007.
It also flies in the face of recent opinion polls, which show declining support for independence. A recent survey showed only 23 per cent of Scots - the lowest level since 1997 - now support independence, despite the SNP victory in the Scottish elections in May.
The 42-page document published sets the economic backdrop against which finance secretary John Swinney tomorrow discloses his three-year spending plans and annual budget. (ANI)

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