Independence 'could spark jobs boom'


John Swinney says the new Scotland Act powers will not be "nearly enough"

The Scottish government has suggested that cutting corporation tax in an independent Scotland would lead to a "jobs boom".

The statement was made at an event to launch a 200-page document setting out the economic policy choices available if voters said "yes" to independence.

The SNP-run government believes Scots will be better off if they back change in next year's referendum.

However, opponents have insisted a go-alone Scotland would struggle to cope.

Former chancellor and leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, said that in an independent Scotland the burden of the growing elderly would "fall on a population of five million, instead of 60 million [as part of the UK]".

Start Quote

To be clear, today was not a draft manifesto for the SNP - nor even a final list of Scottish government priorities. It was a menu, a declaration of what might be possible under independence, whoever might be in power. ”

End Quote

The independence referendum takes place on 18 September 2014, with voters in Scotland being asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Finance Secretary John Swinney launched the government's economics report in Dundee.

It is the last of a series of documents ahead of next week's publication of the Scottish government's White Paper on independence.

It has set out the entire range of economic powers which would be available under independence - along with the argument that sensitive, sensible use of those powers would produce policies better tailored to Scotland's needs.

Mr Salmond said: "Scotland can more than afford to be a successful independent country, with a thriving economy and opportunities for everyone. We have vast natural resources and huge human talent - but those advantages have been stifled by having our economic policy run by Westminster.

Where might the jobs come from?

  • Increasing Scotland's productivity performance by 1% could boost employment by about 21,000 over the long-term.
  • Increasing Scotland's economic activity rate of one percentage point would be equivalent to an extra 30,000 plus people in the labour market.
  • Reducing corporation tax, and changing the tax system in general, could create approximately 27,000 jobs.
  • An increase in Scottish exports by 50% could create more than 100,000 jobs in the long-term.

Source: Scottish government

"The one-size-fits-all economic policies of successive Westminster governments have failed and are continuing to fail the people of Scotland. We perform well at the moment but we should be doing so much better.

"A simple glance at many other European countries of similar size to Scotland, some without the natural advantages Scotland has, shows that we have lagged behind their growth rates for decades.

"Independence will give us the chance to build an economy that takes advantage of Scotland's unique strengths and size to deliver a more outward focussed, fairer and resilient economy, boosting revenues and creating many thousands of more jobs."

Mr Salmond said the paper set out key policy areas post-independence, including;

  • Establishing an industrial strategy which rebalances the economy and diversifies Scotland's industrial base - promoting manufacturing, innovation and boosting productivity. (The SNP believes that increasing Scotland's productivity performance by 1% has the potential to boost employment by about 21,000 over the long-term).
  • Promoting participation in the labour market by delivering more efficient employability, welfare and skills programmes and transforming child care. (The SNP says an increase in Scotland's economic activity rate of one percentage point would be equivalent to an extra 30,000 plus people in the labour market).
  • Targeting measures to reduce outflow of labour and attract skilled workers to enhance Scotland's population growth. The Scottish government says this would build on the current projections of 9% growth over the 25 year period of 2012 to 2037.
  • Using tax incentives to support growth in key sectors, such as tourism and the creative industries, and target areas such as reforming Air Passenger Duty.
  • Using targeted tax measures, such as a reduction in corporation tax, to counterbalance the pull of London and the South East of England. The Scottish government says the initiative could create approximately 27,000 jobs.
  • And boosting the internationalisation and brand recognition of the Scottish economy. The Scottish government says a 50% increase in the value of Scottish exports could boost output by about £5bn and create more than 100,000 jobs in the long-term.

The latest paper from the Scottish government comes a day after a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which suggested that an independent Scotland would face big challenges ahead.

The IFS forecast assumes a decline in North Sea oil revenues and a population ageing more rapidly than in the rest of the United Kingdom.

It warned an independent Scotland would need to cut spending or increase taxes for its finances to be sustainable in the long term.

It said Scotland would face a "fiscal gap" of 1.9% of national income, compared to 0.8% for the UK.

Better Together's Mr Darling said: "Yesterday the independent and impartial Institute of Fiscal Studies reminded the people of Scotland what John Swinney has been privately telling his cabinet colleagues for months.

When, Who, What?

  • The Scottish independence referendum takes place on Thursday 18 September, 2014
  • Only voters in Scotland are eligible to take part in the poll
  • They will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?

"If we were to leave the UK we would face the prospect of big tax rises, damaging cuts to public services - or a combination of the two.

"Today, the Nationalists have chosen to ignore reality and to offer up a type of fantasy economics that beggars belief.

"Instead of admitting the obvious challenges caused by the rise in the number of elderly people, the fall in the number of people of working age and the eventual decline in North Sea oil, the Nationalists have reverted to type.

"Their response is to deny that there are any problems and to say, yet again, that the experts are wrong."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Not interested. My bull is better than yours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Do your children enjoy free school meals Scotland?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The Battle For Our Hearts And Minds has become, despairingly, a minor skirmish in the War of Bluster and Spin ...

    The Man With The Child In His Eyebrows says the case for independence is in tatters ...

    The World's Most Boring Man says it proves the case for independence ...

    The Scoddish people remain woefully uninformed and ill - prepared for the debate, such as it is ...

    And now it's cold ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    "Options include cutting corporation tax to attract investment."

    So, on the one hand, Scotland intends to compete with the rest of the UK by undercutting it, but on the other hand, it still expects to use Sterling as a currency and to enjoy the protection of the Bank of England?

    Dream on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    @landscape, hardly a pro-story. Superficial butt covering in the headlines for the benefit of busy regulators. The BBC will continue its de facto role as the broastcasting wing of Better Together, and the propaganda arm of the British state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Let's see the report but if it is the usual standard of 'facts' it will reveal that independence *could* transform the Scottish economy for the better if we lived in Salmonds fantasy where Scotland keeps all the assets, shares the rUK assets, takes none of the liabilities, oil prices rise perpetually, oil never runs out and rUK outsources the Public Sector and Defence contracts to Scotland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Its Tuesday and we can look forward to some positive words from Salmond and Swinney. unlike on Monday when the slanted report from the IFS was planted and the BBC obliged by promoting it without scrutiny. The BBC is anti-Scottish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    @5 Or... Scotland could decide to have an equal footing with other nations of the world by gaining sovereign state status which would allow the Scottish to make all decisions that effect the people of Scotland. That to me sounds like a far more reasoned and democratic outcome, wouldn't you agree?

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Decisions made by politicians in touch with, and responsive to, Scotland's needs will be simply better for Scotland than those made 400 miles away in London.

    Add in the intangible elements of the pride and excitement in a new country, and a yes vote will bring forth economic success.

    Scotland be brave next Autumn....

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Yes it will, just not a in good way.

    Their flip/flopping on the currency, with no guarantee we would get to use the pound should terrify anyone who lives here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Yes, into a basket case

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I really can't see too many economic benefits of devolution in all honesty. OK I'm not scottish but being part of the United Kingdom helps Scotland and Wales on the international stage when it would come to an global company deciding where to locate its premises and recruit local workforce whereas if Scotland was devolved it would be overlooked potentially leading to lack of employment

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    At least you will make your own mistakes Scotland and not have to suffer another UK government making them on your behalf.

    Examples include:
    Trying to involve you in another pointless war
    Looking on the sidelines as the big money is spent in England (pointless new railway)

    You could avoid penalising the poor and making your rich even richer - what's not to like?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Would like to see how they are going to:-
    1: Fund a military
    2: Continue with free presecriptions
    3: What their currency will be (as an independant scotland should not have the right to use Pound Sterling)
    4: Create new jobs once the ship building contracts have been given back to Portsmouth
    5: Become a Sovereign nation (Don't you need a royal family for that?)

    I am Scottish by the way

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    With all this talk and speculation about Scottish independence does anybody stop to consider that ENGLAND doesn't even have a devolved assembly full of ENGLISH politicians plying for ENGLISH independence. Westminster isn't the ENGLISH parliament….there isn't one! So how would ENGLAND go about becoming independent? The noo!

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Why Scotland would want independence from the UK, only to sell out to the undemocratic and dictatorial organs of the EU, is beyond me.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I live in Glasgow. I'm not anti-English. Please don't class us all with the knuckle draggers that the SNP gov are hoping, vote for Independence just because they watched Braveheart the night before. Unfortunately that's exactly how it's going to go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Although it would be tempting for the Scots to want to dump the current Westminster Government (I know how they feel !), Scotland is better off as part of the UK.


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