Nicola Sturgeon announcement: Scottish Government aims to hold second independence referendum by end of 2023

The First Minister said the Scottish Government would restart work on making the case for independence

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The Scottish Government will restart work on making the case for independence, with the aim of holding a second referendum by the end of 2023.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that while work on this had been halted following the coronavirus pandemic, it would commence again.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • She made the announcement in her Programme for Government, setting out her Government’s plans for the coming months and years.
  • As part of this, the First Minister promised reform of public services, with a National Care Service Bill to be brought in in the next parliamentary year.
  • This legislation will “implement what is arguably the most significant public service reform since the creation of the National Health Service,” Ms Sturgeon said, as she pledged funding for social care would rise by at least £800 million over the lifetime of the Parliament.
  • The Scottish Child Payment, a £10 a week benefit which goes to help hard-up families, will be doubled to £20 a week as “early within the life of the Parliament as possible”, the First Minister added.
  • And to help close the poverty-related attainment gap in Scotland’s schools, she said there would be a further investment of £1 billion over the course of this Parliament.

What’s been said

“We will ensure that the choice, when it comes, is a fully informed one.

“To that end, I can confirm that the Scottish Government will now restart work on the detailed prospectus that will guide the decision.

“The case for independence is a strong one, and we will present it openly, frankly and with confidence and ambition.”

Nicola Sturgeon


With Scotland looking to rebuild and recover from Covid-19, she argued that “at this juncture in history, it is essential that we consider the kind of country we want to be, and how best to secure it”.

Questions over Scotland’s future “cannot be avoided, nor postponed until the die is already cast,” the First Minister said, as she confirmed the Government still wants to hold a referendum before the end of 2023 “Covid permitting”.

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