SNP plans for a new Scottish citizenship programme amount to a “fantasy document” which totally overlooks the all-too-real problems facing people who live north of the border, opponents of independence have warned.
The Scottish Government is to publish policy proposals on who could become a Scottish citizen if the country becomes independent.
The proposals will be published on Thursday and will highlight how non-Scots can qualify for citizenship.
They will also detail who would automatically be considered a citizen if Scotland leaves the UK.
However, the idea did not impress Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union.
She said: “Taxpayers will find it galling that the SNP is forcing them to bankroll another fantasy document.
“There are so many other matters the Scottish Government should be focusing on.
“But while health, education and the economy are neglected, independence retains ministers’ full attention.”
Ms Nash added: “The SNP-Green coalition must end the spending on referendum plans.
“It’s time for people’s priorities, not the SNP’s.”
The proposals are the fifth Building a New Scotland paper, covering proposals on Scottish passports and assistance for Scots travelling, living or working abroad if the nation becomes independent.
Also on the agenda are migrants’ rights, freedom of movement and citizenship fees.
Independent Minister Jamie Hepburn MSP said: “As an independent nation, Scotland would have the opportunity to re-define what it means to be a citizen of this country, building on our inclusive national identity and sense of collective purpose.
“Independence would also enable us to take a fairer and more welcoming approach to citizenship to make it easier for those who have made Scotland their home to settle here permanently, helping to grow our population and support our communities and public services.
“The proposals in this paper explain how we plan to achieve these aims, on the way to re-joining the European Union as an independent nation, and I look forward to setting them out with the First Minister on Thursday.”
The upcoming proposals have been also criticised by the Scottish Conservatives, who branded the plans a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Alexander Stewart MSP, Scottish Conservative depute spokesperson for the constitution, external affairs and culture, said: “These independence plans are a blatant misuse of public money and resources by the SNP – civil servants are supposed to support the government’s agenda, not push the nationalists’ pet project at taxpayers’ expense.
“The SNP are constantly blurring the lines between party and government. It is utterly unacceptable for the SNP to be wasting taxpayers’ money and civil servants’ time on pushing a divisive party political agenda which the Scottish government lacks the authority to pursue unilaterally.
“This is the wrong priority at the worst time, when Humza Yousaf and his ministers should be concentrating on unacceptable NHS waiting times and the cost-of-living crisis.
“Only the Scottish Conservatives are focused on Scotland’s real priorities. The SNP must drop their independence obsession and instead devote every penny towards helping our struggling public services.”
The Scottish Labour Party has been contacted for comment.