Renewing Scotland’s democracy

First Minister: ‘Independence can strengthen and embed democracy in Scotland’.

The only way Scotland can ensure decisions are taken in the best interests of its people is with independence, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said, as new analysis is published showing the extent to which the UK Government can override decisions taken by the Scottish Parliament.

The second paper in the Building a New Scotland series, Renewing Democracy through Independence, outlines how under the current system it is still only the UK’s Government and Parliament that can make decisions about certain issues that impact significantly on people’s daily lives in areas such as:

  • whether Scotland should be in the EU; devolution did not protect Scotland from being taken out of the EU against the clear views of the majority (62%) of Scottish voters in the 2016 referendum, nor from the “hard” form of Brexit imposed by the UK Government
  • key energy policies, such as levels of support for renewable projects, and an overall energy strategy that reflects Scotland’s net zero targets
  • on cutting or increasing taxes, pensions and benefits like Universal Credit; the Scottish Government spent £100 million to mitigate the effects of UK Government austerity policies in 2019 alone and protect low-income families in Scotland
  • powers over migration - despite Scotland being the only part of the UK where the number of people of working age is expected to fall over the next 25 years, meaning we need to attract talent from overseas.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Today’s paper focusses on democracy and democratic renewal. It exposes the significant and increasing democratic deficit that Scotland suffers as part of the Union.

“It shows that, far from being abstract, this inbuilt deficit has real life consequences for individuals, families and businesses across Scotland - from the impact of austerity to the implications of a Brexit we did not vote for.

“And it argues that only independence can both strengthen and embed democracy in Scotland - and provide a secure foundation from which to overcome challenges and fulfil our potential.

“This discussion could not be more timely or urgent. The democratic deficit Scotland faces is not a recent phenomenon - it has been there throughout devolution - but the evidence of it now is starker than ever.

“The fact is independence is not just the best route to renewing and securing democracy in Scotland - which is, in turn, so essential to building the economic and social future we want. Independence is the only credible route.

“That is why offering Scotland the choice of independence - a policy mandated by the Scottish people - is so essential.”

Renewing Democracy Through Independence

Building a New Scotland

It is vital that the people of Scotland have the information they need to make an informed choice about Scotland's future before a referendum takes place. The Building a New Scotland series forms that prospectus for an independent Scotland with the first two papers available at


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