Humza Yousaf will use his first speech of 2024 to claim that Scottish independence can raise productivity and living standards in Scotland.

With an eye on this year’s general election, the First Minister will attack Labour and the Conservatives, accusing them of putting “Westminster political interests” ahead of the Scottish economy.

The government said the lecture, to be delivered at the University of Glasgow on Monday, will be the first “in a series of major economic speeches” which will be “evidence-based and designed to encourage an inclusive debate on a better way forward for Scotland’s economy and society.”

The speech comes after a torrid nine months for the First Minister, who has spent most of his time in office on the back foot, buffeted by the policies of his predecessor and political scandal.

Opposition parties described it as the “same old speech about independence” from the SNP leader.

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The First Minister is expected to refer to a recent report by the Resolution Foundation that concluded that if the UK had the average income and inequality of similar countries then the typical household would be £8,300 better off.

Mr Yousaf will say: “If we use the same analysis for countries that are similar to Scotland – such as Denmark, Ireland and Finland - the difference for the typical Scottish household would be even greater.

“They would be £10,200 better off.

“That is the prize of independence. Not to match the performance of those independent countries overnight, no-one is saying that, but to start catching-up so Scotland’s level of prosperity becomes more normal, more like that of comparable nations.

“It is the UK that is the outlier.”

Mr Yousaf faces a tough contest at the next general election, with Labour looking to replace his party as Scotland's largest in Westminster. 

A Redfield and Wilton survey at the end of November suggested Sir Keir Starmer’s party would take 36% of the vote, two points more than the SNP.

Though not a massive lead, Scotland’s electoral geography, particularly the concentration of Labour votes in the central belt, it could mean a wipeout for Mr Yousaf’s party, almost certainly prompting questions about his leadership.

While his party's poll numbers have fallen, support for independence has remained around the 50% mark.

Tomorrow's speech is part of Mr Yousaf's bid to win back those Yes supporters scunnered with the SNP.

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Though Rishi Sunak has said his “working assumption” is that the election won’t be until the second half of the year, he has not ruled out going to the country in May.

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The First Minister’s speech follows a similar address given by Sir Keir last week.

Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar is also due to address supporters in Rutherglen tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, the SNP will launch their official general election campaign at an event in Glasgow’s West End on Friday.

In his speech tomorrow, Mr Yousaf will go on to claim that both Labour and Tories agree “that the UK should be out of the EU and the huge European Single Market, and they both want to cut vital inward migration.”

Mr Yousaf will add: “Those are just two examples which demonstrate that for the two main UK parties, Westminster political interests will always over-ride Scottish economic interests.

“Keir Starmer’s inability to offer any alternative to the managed decline of the UK is an abdication of leadership.”

Scottish Labour Economy spokesperson Daniel Johnson said Scotland’s potential had “been held back by an SNP government bereft of ideas or ambition.”

He added: “Families don’t need fantasy economics from Humza Yousaf in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, they need his government to get a grip on its waste and incompetence.”

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Scottish Tory finance spokeswoman Liz Smith said it “beggars belief” that the First Minister will “lecture people on economics” after she claimed his Government “created a £1.5 billion black hole in Scotland’s finances”.

“The SNP has presided over stagnant growth and utterly failed to engage with business or promote economic prosperity,” she added.

Scottish Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson Willie Rennie said the speech was a “wasted opportunity.”

“This is not a speech about the economy but yet another same old, same old speech about independence,” he added.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: "What Humza Yousaf's speech won't address is the devastating impact separation would have on Scotland's economy.

"He won't mention the consequences of a hard border between Scotland and our biggest trading partners, and he won't talk about currency, pensions or wider economic stability.

"This is simply just another attempt by the SNP to stoke up division and manufacture grievance.”