"Our institutions have suffered, our public services have suffered, and ultimately, our people have suffered.” First Minister of Scotland speaks at LSE

Humza Yousaf 747 x 560

First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf MSP delivered a keynote at LSE on Tuesday 12 March, exploring a potential EU-inspired economic and social model for an independent Scotland.  

Yousaf’s speech began with a critique of what he deemed “catastrophically poor” financial choices made by the UK government. In his vision for Scotland, he outlined a potential Scottish system based around economic dynamism and social solidarity. 

The First Minister pointed to criticisms of Brexit’s hefty toll on the economy, particularly the with a wider landscape of stagnant wages, high inequality, and lacklustre investment. He took particular issue with the recent UK budget, decrying it as a betrayal of public services in favour of unsustainable tax cuts.  

“We have suffered,” Yousaf said. “Our institutions have suffered, our public services have suffered, and ultimately, our people have suffered to the tune of £1.6 billion that could have been invested in Scottish public services, because of a Brexit that Scotland overwhelmingly rejected.” 

Yet, Yousaf contended, economic issues extend beyond Brexit. He pointed to a “Westminster consensus” on crucial economic matters that clash with the Scottish National Party’s stance, including their views on the European single market, public investment as a percentage of national income, and taxation on high earners. 

Contrasting this with Scotland’s approach, Yousaf championed a strategy that prioritises social welfare in conjunction with targeted investments in burgeoning tech enterprises.  

“The exceptional entrepreneurial activity taking place in Scotland, backed by Scottish government funding, is happening alongside a commitment to building a fairer society,” Yousaf said. “To me, they are two sides of the same coin.” 

Despite these strides, Yousaf cautioned that without independence, Scotland is still likely to mirror the UK’s broader economic trajectory. Independence, he argued, could also “jolt” the system, prompting a reassessment of the “prevailing Brexit-based damaging consensus that’s being pursued by Westminster at such a cost.” 

The subsequent Q&A session probed pathways to EU membership, Scottish economic policies, and the upcoming UK election.  

The entire event is available for viewing on LSE’s Youtube channel: