Alex Salmond tells SNP conference home rule beats Tory rule

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow ahead of the SNP conference
Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow ahead of the SNP conference
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FIRST Minister Alex Salmond is to tell the SNP conference that independence is better for Scotland than being ruled by a Conservative government based in London.

In his speech to SNP spring conference in Glasgow, SNP leader Mr Salmond will tell delegates that “home rule with independence beats Tory rule from Westminster”.

He will press-home the case for independence, describing the campaign as a message of “hope” for the country, and will allow Scotland to become a “better” place.

With the “Yes” campaign for independence due to be launched shortly after the local elections on May 3 and the end of the Scottish Government’s referendum consultation on May 11, Mr Salmond’s speech will focus on building on support for independence across Scotland.

His comments will be a rallying cry to the party to step up the campaign, following a Panelbase poll in The Sunday Times published on February 5, which put support for independence at around 47 per cent – compared with 53 per cent opposed.

Mr Salmond will say: “With the people of Scotland in charge, speaking with our own voice, reflecting our own values and priorities – we will make our country better. This is our message of hope.”

The keynote conference speech is also expected to see Mr Salmond announce a £5 million initiative aimed at providing more opportunities for young people.

Last December, the First Minister appointed a Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance, the first such appointment anywhere in the UK, with an additional budget of £30m to improve the futures of young Scots.

The SNP administration has so far delivered 300,000 training opportunities since 2007 – including 25,000 modern apprenticeships this year. Ministers are taking forward “Opportunities for All” – an initiative that will see every single 16 to 19-year-old in Scotland offered a learning or training place if they are not in already in a job, a modern apprenticeship, or education.

Mr Salmond will say: “More can and more must be done.

“I can announce a £5m package which will ensure a further 2500 young people are given the right support to help them towards the world of work.

“This will engage young people in volunteering opportunities in the international and national events Scotland will have the privilege to host over the next three years.”