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Yes vote 'an opportunity for young'

Independence will give young people more opportunities at home in Scotland than any generation of Scots before, according to the Deputy First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon was on the campaign trail in Glasgow where she was presented with a "youth declaration" from pro-independence group Generation Yes.

Ms Sturgeon, who was joined by Yes supporters outside the Royal Concert Halls in Buchanan Street, said too many young Scots were forced to leave the country for work.

She said: "Scotland's one of the richest countries in the world - wealthier per head than France, the UK and Japan.

"But for far too many people in Scotland it doesn't feel that way. More and more young people are finding out about the opportunities of independence and are deciding to vote Yes.

"Almost everyone in Scotland will know of friends or family who have had to leave in order to get work or further their career. On average, every year nearly 40,000 people aged 16-34 leave.

"It's great that so many people have opportunities outside Scotland and that will continue with a Yes vote but we need to do more to provide opportunities here at home.

"That means an economic policy with full-job creating powers tailored to Scotland's rather than a Westminster policy which the evidence shows favours investment and jobs in London."

Ms Sturgeon set out five opportunities for young people after a Yes vote, including a guarantee of free higher education and the extension of voting rights to all 16 and 17-year-olds.

Incentives to attract businesses to Scotland would create more and better jobs, while taxes from young people helped into work by the Modern Apprentices programme could be reinvested to give opportunities to others, she said.

A Youth Guarantee would also establish the opportunity of education, training or employment as a constitutional right for everyone up to the age of 24, Ms Sturgeon said.

She added: " A Yes vote is the opportunity of a lifetime for young people. We're better off with Scotland's future in Scotland's hands."

Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said: "For the first time in their lives, young people of Scotland are being asked to think smaller not bigger by the nationalists, who want to put up borders and barriers where none exist today.

"I am confident in the abilities of our young people, and by staying in the UK they can take advantage of the opportunity which comes by being part of something bigger.

"Separating ourselves from the rest of the UK would risk jobs, opportunities and funding for education in Scotland which comes from pooling and sharing resources across 63 million people rather than five million people."

Ms Dugdale said that "130,000 fewer people are going to college since the SNP came to power in 2007".

"The SNP voted against the living wage, when low pay disproportionately affects young people," she said.

"The White Paper doesn't have a single policy which takes wealth from the richest families to the poorest ones to make Scotland a better place."

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