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Independence report will not be sugar-coated, Nicola Sturgeon says

A report set to restart the debate on Scottish independence will be "frank about the challenges" Scotland faces, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The findings of the SNP's growth commission, set up in 2016 to look at economic policy options for an independent Scotland, are to be published this week.

On Sunday, the First Minister said it will not influence the timing of a second independence referendum but would restart the debate on Scotland's future.

The commission is to make recommendations on the monetary policy for an independent Scotland as well as the range of transitional costs and benefits associated with independence.

Ms Sturgeon said she has not seen the final report but is "looking forward to seeing it in the coming days".

Reports have suggested the commission will back the creation of a Scottish currency.

Speaking in Glasgow ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Monday, the First Minister said: "I expect it to be a very positive report, not sugar-coated.

"It will, I hope, be frank about the challenges we face as a country, but also very positive about how independence can equip us to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future, and I think that will be quite refreshing in Scotland because the last couple of years have been very much focused on how we limit the damage of Brexit.

"Instead of a debate based on despair, this is an opportunity to turn our minds to a debate that's all about hope, optimism and ambition for Scotland."

Ms Sturgeon has previously said she will consider the timing of an independence referendum once there is "clarity" on the outcome of Brexit.

Speaking about the growth commission report, she said: "This is not a report on the timing of a referendum, it's a report about the why of independence, how it better equips Scotland to face up to the challenges we face, including the challenges that are brought about by Brexit and how we seize the opportunities."

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