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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 March, 2005, 17:00 GMT
SNP plan to see Scotland flourish
Alex Salmond shadow against saltire
Alex Salmond believes the party's plan will see Scotland's economy grow
The Scottish National Party has outlined its vision on how it believes the country's economy can flourish over the next decade.

It has pledged to make Scotland among the 15 most competitive countries in the world and encourage a 3% growth in population by 2015.

To aid growth, the SNP plans to reduce corporation tax by a third to 20%.

However, both Labour and the Conservatives have said that the SNP's sums do not add up.

Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Darling said: "Alex Salmond is putting his faith in unsustainable cuts in business taxes in the hope that wealth will 'trickle down' from the top to the bottom.

"This resurrection of the long discredited Laffer Curve shows that the SNP are relying on reheated reaganomics to dig themselves out of the independence black hole."

'Fallen behind'

But the SNP insisted its plan has won support from the business world and the education sector.

The party's leader, Alex Salmond, said the policy, launched in Dundee on Tuesday, would give Scotland a competitive edge and attract new investment.

He said: "The SNP is determined to see Scotland flourish and our blueprint for success is the only economic policy designed in Scotland and for Scotland.

"Over these past 10 years, Scotland's economy has fallen behind other similar countries.

I am impressed by the proposals covering business rates and red tape
John McGlynn
Airlink Group
"The impact is felt in the number of Scots who have left, or will soon leave, to find jobs and economic opportunity elsewhere."

Mr Salmond believes his party's vision for the future would stop London and Labour draining Scotland of its people and resources.

He touched on the issue of North Sea oil, demanding once again that Scotland's parliament be given control of it.

The SNP said that if Scotland matches the success of similar European nations then it will mean:

  • 200,000 more jobs

  • 8bn more to spend on public services

  • The average person in Scotland earning 2,000 more per year in real terms

  • An estimated 19bn more in the Scottish economy by 2015.

The SNP plan has won support from John McGlynn, founder and chairman of Airlink Group.

He said: "I am impressed by the proposals covering business rates and red tape. The burden on business development from rates is crippling and anything that can be done to reduce this must be heartily welcomed.

"I was also very interested to read about the suggestions to tackle the population problem.

'Not costed'

"As a businessman I have direct experience of the widening skills gap within Scotland."

Professor Neil Kay from Strathclyde University said that Mr Salmond made a sensible diagnosis and his prescriptions were worthy of serious consideration.

But the Scottish Conservatives have asked the SNP how they plan to fund their tax cut pledge.

Murdo Fraser said the Nationalists' promise to slash corporation tax had not been costed.

He added that if voters really wanted pro-business policies then they should vote for the "real Tories".

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