Salmond claims Scottish economy would benefit from independenceCurrent affairs
First Minister Alex Salmond has produced a 69-page strategy regarding the economic case for independence in Scotland, arguing that this will benefit the economy.
He proposed cutting corporation tax by three percentage points in a reduction that he argued would create 27,000 jobs. He also suggested that the English, Northern Irish and Welsh would still be bound together to share the pound in a Eurozone-style currency and the Bank of England should remain Scotland’s lender of last resort.
Mr Salmond stated that there was “no reason” why Scotland could not be independent, cutting the corporation tax but also keeping the pound. He said: “The financial assets of the country include sterling and sterling reserves – they obviously do – and we’ve put forward a proposition that there should be an equitable share of assets and liabilities.”
He added: “Sterling is our currency as well as the rest of the UK’s currency just as the Bank of England is our central bank. What you certainly can’t have is an assumption that one country would have all of the assets but not expect therefore to take all of the liabilities.”
The strategy has caused controversy, with both the UK government and opposition parties being very critical about its lack of detail. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “The First Minister continues to make things up as he goes along while ignoring the legal reality of independence.”
Former chancellor and leader of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, argued that the entire economic argument outlined by Salmond is contradicted by its currency union policy. He stated: “The truth is that such a deal would mean that Scotland’s budget would have to be signed off by what would then be a foreign government in London. Why on earth would the rest of the UK allow Scotland to undercut their economy?”
He added: “The great irony of today’s booklet is that the industries Alex Salmond rightly talks about as Scottish successes have been successful as part of the UK.”