First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond

Launching EA Scotland’s ‘manifesto for the future’ entitled What Kind of Nation?, national director Fred Drummond said the debate has been too narrowly focused on issues of EU membership, the pound and pensions.

‘There are many other important issues, such as poverty...which need to be addressed,’ he said.

‘It cannot be right that the poorest 20% of the population contribute a larger percentage of their wealth in tax than those in the top 20%. It cannot be right that those in work find themselves having to rely on state hand-outs and reliant on visiting foodbanks,’ he added.

He also warned of the rise of intolerant forms of secularism, saying: ‘Increasingly there are concerns that current understandings of secularism can lead to an aggressive, imposed form of public life where no room for faith discussion is left at the table. In a healthy, democratic society both secular and faith views are heard and tolerated.’

Launched at the Scottish Parliament, What Kind of Nation? is designed to help Christians engage with politicians. It contains 38 recommendations and covers four areas of Scottish society – the economy, the family, civil society and the environment.

A speech delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government’s minister for community safety and legal affairs, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, praised the work of Christian organisations such as the Salvation Army’s Greenock Floating Support services, Christians Against Poverty  and the Bethany Christian Trust.

She also told Christian leaders: ‘We look forward to your continuing participation in Scotland’s future. One of the first and most exciting tasks in an independent Scotland will be the drawing up of a constitution. It’s inconceivable that churches and faith groups would not be foundational to the process of drawing up a constitution.’