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Agenda:

The biggest gains of a Yes vote will be felt by my generation and it's the teens and 20-somethings who have the biggest stake in building a better Scotland with independence.

Today sees the launch of Generation Yes, a Scotland-wide movement bringing together young people who see their future being best served in an independent nation.

A Yes is for our future - an opportunity to realise this country's potential and ensure we have the best possible prospects, individually and as a nation. Our current path simply is not working for Scotland's young people. Indeed, a simple look at history tells us that a Westminster government never has.

For centuries, young people have left Scotland in search of work and better opportunities. Analysis shows that from 1960-2012, Scotland experienced the lowest population growth in Western Europe, at just 2.2% compared to Norway's 39.7%. Until very recently, Scotland's population was declining, as millions sought a new start in far-flung corners of the globe or employment opportunities elsewhere in the UK.

We can be proud Scotland is an outward-looking nation but the exodus of generation after generation in search of a better life is symptomatic of a political powerlessness which leaves Scotland ill-equipped to create decent jobs for young people to stay and build their lives here.

As economist Margaret Cuthbert wrote last year: "Population indicators show an economy which did not have sufficient buoyancy to give employment, and therefore a home, to its own natural growth in population."

London-skewed economic policies have long damaged opportunities for young people in Scotland. And despite our comparatively strong youth employment levels - largely due to the efforts of devolved Scottish governments - Westminster is still harming young people's chances today and prospects for the future.

We are among those being hit hardest by Westminster's cost-of-living crisis. The Resolution Foundation estimates average earnings for 18 to 21-year-olds fell by 25% between 2008 and 2013, while the Coalition's social mobility tsar last year found that, unless things change, my generation will be the first in decades to be worse off than our parents.

London-based parties are even talking about targeting under-25s for capping or scrapping various benefits, while successive UK Budgets put us at a disadvantage in favour of older age groups who are more likely to vote.

It's increasingly clear that, in the long term, Westminster's default economic priorities threaten our generation's prosperity. UK Governments will always be more concerned with the City of London than with Scotland's economy. Even UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has described London as "a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country".

As this trend continues, we can expect another generation of talented young Scots to be drawn southwards, creating a deficit of opportunity to match the democratic deficit Scotland experiences within the Union.

I don't want that for our future. Leaving home to pursue new things should always be a choice, not a necessity. Only a Yes vote will enable Scotland to act as a counterpoint to London.

With independence, we'll always have a government chosen by the people of Scotland with the tools and the focus to make our economy more successful.

Instead of continuing with an out-of-touch Westminster system which concentrates power and opportunity in the south-east of England, we can be the generation that chooses to create our own future for ourselves.

That means we will have the powers we need to create more jobs and opportunities and retain more of our young people to build careers, start families and make a life here in Scotland. That means a brighter future for Scotland's young people - if only we say Yes.

Contextual targeting label: 
Careers and Jobs

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