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EDITIONS
Friday, 27 September, 2002, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
SNP puts economic argument
Wilson campaign poster
Mr Wilson addressed delegates on the economy
The economic case for independence has never been stronger, according to the Scottish National Party's finance spokesman.

Andrew Wilson told the party's conference in Inverness that Labour had mismanaged the economy and the time has come for the Nationalists to assume responsibility.

Mr Wilson said: "There is an economic imperative for independence like never before."

Accusing Labour of a lack of ambition, he said: "Labour have had their chance, now it's Scotland's turn. Let's show some ambition for our country."

Alex Neil
Alex Neil said the time for sharing is over
During a debate on the economy there were differing opinions on the importance of North Sea oil to Scotland.

Mr Wilson said that Scotland would not need to rely on oil revenues to ensure economic success after independence.

Those comments came after fellow MSP Alex Neil received a warm reception when asserting that it was time Scotland received all the cash raised from North Sea oil.

Mr Neil said there was enough oil under the North Sea to last for 30 years and raise 150bn.

He told activists that when oil was first discovered he had argued for all revenues raised to be evenly split between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Amid loud applause, he said: "Thirty years later I'm still arguing for an oil sharing policy, but it's an oil sharing policy with a difference.

"They've had their share, now it's time that we got our share."

'No pot of gold'

However, Mr Wilson said Scotland could prosper without relying on oil revenues.

He said: "The reality is that we can do it without natural resources. We're not going to win independence by promising it's a free lunch.

"There is no pot of gold - black or otherwise - at the foot of the independence rainbow."

Mr Wilson told the conference that Scotland needed the powers of an independent nation to realise its potential.

Party treasurer Jim Mather said: "We are stuck with perennially low growth that in turn creates a wealth gap and a health gap with the rest of the UK.

"The solution is clear, we must tackle Scotland's core problem, Scotland's lack of full financial Independence."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Brian Taylor
"John Swinney says Scotland would thrive under independence"
See also:

27 Sep 02 | Scotland
26 Sep 02 | Scotland
26 Sep 02 | Scotland
25 Sep 02 | Scotland
25 Sep 02 | Scotland
24 Sep 02 | Scotland
20 Sep 02 | Scotland
15 Sep 02 | Scotland
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