Lamont says 'Yes vote' will impoverish Scotland

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Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said a "Yes vote" in the independence referendum would "impoverish" Scotland, as she led a debate on Scotland's future on 18 June 2014.

Ms Lamont said that the best future for Scotland is one where its devolved public services are delivered by the Scottish Parliament but backed by the security and stability of the United Kingdom.

She added: "The truth of the matter is that the nationalists think they will liberate Scotland, but instead they will impoverish Scotland."

The Scottish Labour leader there was a growing consensus amongst financial experts that an independent Scotland would be worse off with less money to spend on things that matter.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit back saying Ms Lamont had displayed a "depressing, dismal lack of ambition".

Independence, Ms Sturgeon said, was key to securing the future of public services.

She said: "The simple fact of the matter is that this is a choice between two futures - between hope, ambition and optimism on the one-hand and dreary, dismal depressing outlook on the other."

However Ms Lamont said:

"Scotland's public services face two futures in 2014. The future after a Yes vote where all the experts agree we will face renewed austerity over and above what we already face, and cuts to schools and hospitals as a consequence. Or we could face a different future if Scotland votes No."

Ms Sturgeon said Ms Lamont was "out of touch" with her own supporters, displaying a "depressing, dismal lack of ambition".

"I think the founders of the Labour Party will be turning in their graves at Johann Lamont today," she said.

Independence, Ms Sturgeon said, is key to securing the future of public services.

"Independence puts responsibility into our hands," she said. "We published the outlook for our public finances under independence. They show that under all key fiscal measures, our finances in 2016/17 will be similar to or stronger than the UK and the G7 as a whole."

She said Labour had argued that "the only solution to the challenges we face is to leave it to Westminster and hope for the best".

"Well that is not good enough. It is the most high risk approach to Scotland's finances imaginable.

"What we offer is the alternative to that.

"The simple fact of the matter is that this is a choice between two futures - between hope, ambition and optimism on the one-hand and dreary, dismal depressing outlook on the other."

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

Scotland's Future: Labour debate 2

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