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Willie Rennie MSP Leader of the Scottish Liberal DemocratsThe Liberal Democrats are working to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life.

That's why in Government we have given 24 million people a £700 tax cut, created 1 million jobs and helped 1.5 million apprentices.

We are the only party that can anchor Britain in the centre ground, ensuring we have sustainable growth and equality of opportunity.

Labour can't be trusted with the economy, in government they would drag Britain to the left, borrowing too much, spending too much and risking the recovery.

And the Conservatives can't be trusted to treat people fairly. If Liberal Democrats weren't in Government, the Tories would focus attention on the best-off, let employers fire staff without cause and allow schools to be run for profit.

Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life.

Recent updates

  • Article: Aug 21, 2014

    A Liberal Democrat government would introduce a package of measures supporting innovation in UK businesses, it has been announced today.

    The manifesto plans include ringfencing the science research budget and introducing a green innovation arm to the British Business Bank.


    The plans also provide further support for the 'Catapult' programme, which bridges the gap between universities, research institutions and business through £100m of funding over the next Parliament.

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has todayAlison McInnesAlison McInnes warned that an extraordinary lack of detail in the recording of police stop and searches acts as a barrier to ensuring racial equality is upheld by Scotland's national police.

    The warning comes after the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) published a report today which said that the unreliability of data recording means that it is impossible to rule out racial profiling.

    The report highlights that some communities in the west of Scotland are experiencing disproportionately high levels of stop and search. In South Ayrshire black communities face a stop and search rate of 6,403 per 10,000 population, compared to the national average of 1,206 per 10,000.

    Commenting, Ms McInnes said:

    "This report from CRER shows that an extraordinary lack of detail in the recording of police stop and searches acts as a barrier to ensuring racial equality in the activities of Scotland's national police.

    "Time and time again confusion over recording simple data throws up a myriad of wider problems for Scotland's national force. The disproportionate number of searches carried out on some communities in Scotland and the inability of CRER to rule out racial profiling necessitates swift action from Police Scotland.

    "The prolific use of stop and search across Scotland has already raised alarm bells because it is proportionately far higher than that of the Met or NYPD. If Police Scotland is to salvage its credibility on the use of this tactic then it must proactively seek to improve recording methods so that we can rule out racial profiling.

    "It remains the case that only the Parliament can protect our fundamental civil liberties through ensuring that stop and searches always have a sound legal basis. In the face of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's complacency this is something I will be pushing for."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, SirSir Robert SmithSir Robert Smith Robert Smith, has said that new concerns over Alex Salmond's oil predictions raised by Sir Ian Wood warrant a serious response.

    Sir Ian Wood, former chair of the Wood group and author of a major review into the UKCS, today warned that Alex Salmond's predictions are up to 60 percent to high. Sir Ian Wood also said that a series of factors meant he concluded that "an independent Scotland will lose out badly on our energy economics."

    Commenting, Mr Smith said:

    "Whilst I'm sure many nationalists will be disappointed to hear that Sir Ian Wood does not support their independence beliefs, few will question his knowledge and success within the oil and gas industry. Indeed, it is his decades of experience at the heart of the industry which has led him to conclude that Scotland's energy sector is better served as part of the wider UK family.

    "Sir Ian Wood's comments will not make for easy reading for Alex Salmond. With only weeks until the vote, Alex Salmond's questionable oil assertions have been brought under the magnifying glass by Sir Ian Wood's credible experience. As a voice listened to by many in the industry, his concerns warrant a serious response.

    "Oil revenues would represent around one fifth of an independent Scotland's tax take, but the broad shoulders of the UK means we can better weather the future storms of a volatile and ultimately finite resource. Remaining part of the UK gives Scotland more opportunities to reinvest in Scotland's changing energy industry and to maintain its position as a world leader for oil and gas expertise."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP has called on AlexWillie RennieWillie Rennie Salmond to break his silence and spell out his currency plan B after a second advisor on his Fiscal Commission spoke about a transition arrangement on currency.

    In an interview with Bloomberg published today, Fiscal Commission member and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz said that they would wish to see a stable transition agreement but did not say to what. The comments follow those of chief currency advisor Crawford Beveridge, who made a series of new positions yesterday evening.

    Earlier today Mr Rennie invited the First Minister to come to the Scottish Parliament to give an explanation for the latest chaos to engulf his currency plan. He refused.

    Speaking following Alex Salmond's refusal to make a statement and on the further chaos caused by Joseph Stiglitz remarks, Mr Rennie said:

    "On Tuesday, the head of the First Minister's own fiscal commission hung him out to dry on the currency union, accepting that it was entirely a decision for the rest of the UK whether to sign up or not.

    "On Wednesday, another member of the commission has spoken of proposals for the 'transition' of the currency. This all begs the fundamental question about what the currency is in transition to.

    "Alex Salmond is growing further apart from his own currency advisors. They both now seem to be saying that the currency might change after independence in as little as six months. Thursday is the final sitting of the Scottish Parliament before the referendum.

    "Alex Salmond must break his silence and give voters the clarity they deserve. The parliament deserves no less than this basic respect.

    "This currency fiasco matters. With only four weeks to go people deserve to know basic facts like what currency they would expect to be paid in, save with and spend under Alex Salmond's independence plans."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrats have welcomed confirmation from Alex SalmondJim HumeJim Hume that the Borders rail project will finally be opened, nine years after it was secured by Scottish Liberal Democrats in government.

    The welcome news comes after Alex Salmond confirmed that the rail link would be in action in September 2015.

    Scottish Liberal Democrat South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume is also calling on the SNP to commit to extending the line to Hawick.

    Commenting, Mr Hume said:

    "Nine years after the Borders railway was secured by Scottish Liberal Democrats in government, people across the Borders simply want to see the trains on the track. Alex Salmond told the Scottish Parliament three years ago that it would be delivered by 2014. Today Alex Salmond has confirmed that the project will be delivered almost a year later.

    "Alex Salmond might not want to pop open the champagne, as after years of spin about the actual opening date he may find it has gone flat. Scottish Liberal Democrats look forward to the Borders rail link being opened once and for all. The sooner it is up and running, the sooner businesses, commuters and the local economy reap the economic benefits of a connected rail system.

    "In April the First Minister said that the Borders Rail link would serve as a catalyst for the restoration of the rest of this historic route through to Carlisle. Now is the time for Alex Salmond to put his money where his mouth is and commit to a feasibility study so that Hawick and the surrounding communities across the Borders can reap the benefits an extension could bring."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat Health spokesman Jim Hume MSP today accusedJim HumeJim Hume the nationalist government of hypocrisy after it was revealed that the Health Secretary contacted all Scottish NHS staff regarding independence.

    His comments came as the First Minister and other senior nationalists demanded an apology from the UK Department for Work and Pensions after officials wrote to staff regarding the referendum.

    The Health Secretary's letter to NHS staff stated "independence will enable a positive and inclusive approach to negotiating public sector workers' pension arrangements."

    Commenting on the letter, Mr Hume said:

    "As senior nationalists took to the airwaves to express mock outrage over UK government guidance to civil servants over referendum purdah rules, the Health Secretary was contacting NHS Scotland staff extolling the virtues of his independence plans.

    "This is further evidence that nationalists will say anything to anyone to try and increase support for independence. They have turned hypocrisy into an art form."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Danny Alexander today said that Danny AlexanderDanny AlexanderHighlanders will treat SNP claims that work to dual the A9 is ahead of schedule with the derision they deserve.

    Seven years after a commitment to improving the A9 was included in the SNP manifesto, dualling works are yet to begin.

    Mr Alexander was speaking after the announcement that the procurement process for the dualling of a stretch of road from Kincraig to Dalraddy will commence shortly.

    Commenting, Mr Alexander said:

    "Highlanders will treat SNP claims that the dualling of the A9 is ahead of schedule with the derision they deserve.

    "Regular users of the A9 have had to endure seven wasted years of a SNP government that has focussed on central belt priorities while turning a deaf ear to Highland concerns. Not only that, but now Highlanders must endure average speed cameras on the road which will increase driver frustration.

    "So far, not a single metre of the A9 has been dualled on their watch. Highlanders will judge the SNP on their actions, not the occasional warm words."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable has today launched a new campaign to encourage more young people to take up apprenticeships.

    The "Get In, Go Far" campaign is being supported by a number of employers across the country and coincides with the introduction of 40 new employer-designed apprenticeships in sectors including engineering, hospitality and the legal profession.

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Scottish Liberal Democrats have this morning called for an urgent Willie Rennie MSPWillie Rennie MSPministerial statement from Alex Salmond following a series of new positions from his chief currency advisor on the monetary framework in an independent Scotland.

    At an event at Glasgow Caledonian University last night, the Chair of Alex Salmond's Fiscal Commission Working Group, Crawford Beveridge, said:

    · Sterlingisation was viable as a transition option for a period which could only last six months
    · It was entirely possible that a formal currency union would not be agreed in event of a vote for independence
    · A move to renege on an independent Scotland's share of the debt "looks like a default and it smells like a default" to credit ratings agencies

    As Alex Salmond has based his entire position on the Fiscal Commission's report and now that the Fiscal Commission has changed its position, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called on the First Minister to report to parliament.

    Mr Rennie said:

    "Alex Salmond had hoped that his favoured advisor would calm the horses over his chaotic currency plans. Instead there is now a significant gulf between what Alex Salmond says and what his chief currency advisor says. Time is running out. Alex Salmond has based his entire position on the fiscal commission report and now the fiscal commission has changed its position.

    "It is now imperative that he explains his Plan B and the consequences of that alternative."

  • Article: Aug 20, 2014

    Responding to the conclusion of the disciplinary process against Lord Rennard, the Liberal Democrats have released the following statements:

    A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said:

    "The Regional Parties Committee met this week to consider whether the party had been brought into disrepute by statements made by Lord Rennard, or on his behalf, following the publication of Alistair Webster's conclusions.