Scotland is ‘hungry for more power’

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SCOTS have shown a “hunger” for more powers, Alex Salmond claimed today, as he said he was “confident” the country would opt for independence.

The First Minister said the coming 12 months would “mark a further shift in the debate on Scotland’s future”.

The Scottish Government has pledged to hold the poll in the second half of Holyrood’s five-year-long parliamentary term.

In his New Year message, delivered from the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, Mr Salmond said: “The Scottish people have shown a hunger for more powers in order to secure a fairer as well as a more prosperous future, and I believe optimism has been chosen over pessimism.

“My priority as First Minister as we go into 2012 is to ensure all Scots have the security and fulfilment that comes from the opportunity to work.

“That’s why we are investing in a range of capital projects to create jobs, guaranteeing an education or training place for every 16 to 19-year-old and delivering 25,000 modern apprenticeships a year.”

But he added: “With greater powers we could do so much more and we would be much less at risk from the UK’s counter-productive obsession with austerity at all costs.

“I am confident that Scotland will decide to take full control of our own destiny and join the international community in our own right. If we are going to shape the future we must make some changes to the present – and that means taking more control over our destiny.”