Salmond insists Scots would have been better off with independence

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Alex Salmond has again insisted Scotland would have been better off financially had it been independent, during first minister's question time on 9 January 2014.

The first minister was responding to questioning from Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, who asked why the SNP had "hand picked" 1977 to 2007 as the time period for the claim Scots would have been better off if independent in the White Paper Scotland's Future.

Ms Lamont said the most recent figures for the last 30 years, obtained from the Scottish Parliament's financial scrutiny unit, showed "each and every Scot would have been nearly £2,500 worse off" if Scotland had not been part of the UK.

She said the White Paper "doesn't match its claims with any figures to make it credible and believable" and it was a "shopping list without a price list, it is just a wish list".

Mr Salmond said Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) statistics for the last five years showed Scotland would be £12bn relatively better off if it managed its own resources.

He reiterated the White Paper detailed plans, in the first term following independence, for a transformational change in childcare leading to a 6% increase of women in work, which in turn would lead to £700m coming to the Scottish exchequer through a range of taxes.

The first minister also said:"If we stay within the United Kingdom we will never be able to afford that because the money will go to George Osborne in the London treasury, and believe me he's not thinking of giving extra money to Scotland."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson raised concerns about the £300,000 "golden goodbye" to the former head of Historic Scotland, Ruth Parsons, asking if a Scottish government minister had signed-off on the decision.

Ms Davidson said: "The Scottish taxpayer is footing the bill for these extravagant golden goodbyes and they are entitled to some straight answers."

Overall payouts have cost a total of £56 million in two years, she said.

Mr Salmond said the settlement had been agreed by the civil service and any political intervention without just cause would not best serve "fairness and natural justice".

"My understanding is that she had worked for a generation within the civil service," he told Parliament.

"You don't just look at these circumstances, necessarily, at the latest posting.

"That is why these decisions are best done in best personnel practice."

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