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The First Minister sparked fury as she announced she will set out her demands for a fresh separation vote within the next six months. A timetable will be proposed by her administration before May’s Holyrood elections despite warnings of a slow recovery from Covid-19.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “This was the moment where the First Minister could have put selfish, narrow interests to one side and united the country. Instead, we’re told the solution is another Referendum Bill, only this time in the middle of a pandemic.
“The First Minister just doesn’t get it. She needs to leave the Holyrood bubble and get back into the real world, where people are fearful of losing their jobs.”
Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray added: “This reckless announcement from the First Minister shows that her top priority is to divide the people of Scotland. All her focus should be on post-Covid recovery, not returning to the old politics of division that will harm Scotland’s society and economy.”
Business leaders also expressed dismay at an apparent lack of immediate, extra support for those on the brink of collapse.
Tracy Black, director of CBI Scotland, said: “Ultimately, Scotland’s economic recovery depends on the Scottish and UK governments pulling in the same direction and working with business to focus on jobs, skills and opportunities for young people. There isn’t a moment to lose.”
Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “Some businesses are reaching the end of the road.”
Ms Sturgeon told MSPs she would use the Holyrood election campaign to “make the case” for separation and “seek a clear endorsement of Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.
She claimed a breakaway Scotland could immediately put in place Covid-19 recovery measures such as extending the furlough scheme, rather than relying on the UK. She also boasted it could implement other far-reaching plans, including a reformed migration system and a universal basic income.
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