Salmond: independent Scotland could be £5bn a year better off in 15 years
First minister says yes vote would boost economy, but Danny Alexander counters with promise of £1,400 ‘UK dividend’.
The Scottish government and the UK Treasury have set out rival visions of the costs and benefits of Scottish independence.
Launching a report at St Andrews House in Edinburgh, the first minister, Alex Salmond, said an independent Scotland could generate more than £5bn a year of extra revenues within 15 years, equating to £1,000 per person, without having to raises taxes.
The report details how a yes vote in September’s referendum could help boost the Scottish economy by increasing productivity, boosting the working age population and increasing employment.
Meanwhile, the chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, projected that over the next 20 years Scots would benefit from a “UK dividend” of £1,400 per person per year from 2016-17 onwards.
Publishing a paper outlining what the UK government sees as the challenges of independence, Alexander described the Scottish government’s estimate as “a bogus bonus”, adding that a separate Scotland could face higher interest payments on government debts at the same time as it had to deal with declining oil revenues and an ageing population.
According to the Treasury analysis, the direct costs of independence would include higher borrowing rates for an independent Scottish state, the net costs of setting up new institutions, and the net costs of funding the policy commitments contained in the Scottish government’s recent white paper.
It suggested that if the UK debt was split according to population at the end of 2015-16, an independent Scotland would take on debt of about 74% of its GDP, which could reach “unsustainable levels without policy action”.