Treasury estimates cost of setting up independent Scotland at £1.5bn
First minister Alex Salmond says figure is a horrendous blunder or a deeply dishonest attempt to deceive.
The Treasury has estimated that Scottish voters would face a £1.5bn bill for setting up an independent Scottish state, prompting a furious row with the first minister, Alex Salmond.
Independent experts estimate that establishing a new country’s institutions can cost up to 1% of its GDP, according to a Treasury report on the costs of independence to be published on Wednesday. Based on Scotland’s GDP, that led to a “favourable estimate” of £1.5bn, the report said.
With Scotland facing a bill of about £750m just to create a new tax regime and £400m for computers and IT for welfare, the Treasury said Salmond’s government had failed to set out to voters what an independent Scotland’s startup and running costs would be.
A new Scottish state would need to set up a security and intelligence agency, a competition and markets authority, an integrated Scottish defence force headquarters, a passport office and a DVLA, it said.
Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said Scottish ministers had given no costs for any of these new bodies. “The Scottish government is trying to leave the UK, but it won’t tell anyone how much the set-up surcharge is for an independent Scotland,” he said.
“As part of the UK, Scotland gains from a strong and stable tax and benefits system and our comprehensive analysis, published this week, sets out how much better off Scottish taxpayers are; that’s why we’re better off together.”
- The Guardian,