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Swinney: indyref Yes vote would mean spreading wealth more equally

The SNP would distribute Scotland's wealth more equally through a "social partnership" between government, business, unions, universities and charities if Scotland become independent, according to the Finance Secretary.

Devolution has allowed Scotland to narrow the economic gaps with the rest of the UK, and independence would allow it to "create prosperity" through building a consensus on issues such as taxation and regulation, John Swinney said ahead of a speech at Glasgow University.

He has challenged unionists to spell out how Scotland will prosper if it remains in the "economically imbalanced" United Kingdom.

Mr Swinney said: "Scotland's Future identifies the challenges Scotland face if our economy is to compete with the most dynamic economies in the world and if we are to increase levels of equality and participation at home.

"But where Scotland's Future shows how the tools of independence can be used to meet those challenges, those opposed to independence have yet to say how remaining in a state as economically imbalanced as the UK can benefit Scotland."

He added: "With the limited powers of devolution we have already seen an improved performance across a range of key economic indicators, both in absolute terms and relative to the rest of the UK.

"Since 1999 productivity has increased to match UK levels, full-time weekly pay has increased from 5% below UK levels to within 2% and Scotland's employment rate has moved from a position of 2.4 percentage points below the UK to 1.0 percentage point higher in 2013.

"There is therefore good evidence that taking decisions in Scotland works.

"Through the transfer of additional powers, future Scottish governments could create a genuinely appropriate set of complementary policies, whether in relation to taxation, innovation, labour market regulation or industrial policy.

"We can create prosperity through a genuine social partnership between business, the public sector, trade unions, the third sector and universities; and distribute that wealth more fairly and more equally than it is at present.

"A country of Scotland's size is well placed to build consensus in the key strategic areas and deliver policy which best meets the needs of the Scottish economy and Scottish business."

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