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 190.

    Scotland is already an independent country so this debate is bogus. For the last 300 years Scotland has expressed its independence within the Union.There are now those who want the Union dissolved. So why don't the English have a vote?
    Despite all the pretence the dissolution of the Union will induce fundamental change for everyone. To forecast the economy on this basis is to believe in faeries.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    "Where are you 2 ill-informed guys based. The independence movement is strongest in the North"

    Where there are no people...

    Voting, classically requires large numbers of people. Where there are large numbers of people in Scotland is in cities which are mostly found in the south, where business links to England are strongest.

    Get map, apply logic, win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    Only export big issue sellers

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    The Scots indy brigade never tell you one fact. Although most of the oil is landed in Scotland, a sizable proportion of this comes from the English part of the North Sea.
    I am fed up with Salmond and the lady from The Crankies rabbiting on how somehow Scotland owns all the oil!

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    If the Highlands & Islands reject independence then what right does anyone have to impose independence on such a large geographical area of Scotland if the people living there don't want it?
    You raise an interesting point, that cuts both ways:
    What right does anyone have to impose union on those who don't want it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    @142 " Ireland did this and look where it got them!! "

    It got them a far higher growth rate than the UK and a much higher GDP/head and higher salaries.

    Yes, they had a housing bubble (like the South East) which burst whereas the UK kept it artificially and unsustainably inflated by printing money, essentially devaluing pensions and savings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    I’ve had it with the bile that’s discharged all over this sight when the British Broadcasting Corporation opens this topic up for comment. I can’t think of a single good thing the human race has done which didn’t involve a wee bit of risk and a lot of hard work and at the same time battling public opinion & media who think that it can’t be done. The vote is coming, so grow a back bone!

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    Im almost certain the anti-Scottish comments on here are an act of jealousy. Is it because the SNP actually represents its country, wants whats best for Scotland and its people, whereas you have the Tories and Labour. There's a reason there are no Con MP''s north of the border...they are sick of voting for broken promises, so sought change in the SNP, hence their rise. Dont envy, follow suit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    As an Englishman I hope that Scotland does gain its independence and I say that out of respect, I think that Scotland as a nation will face the challenges of governing itself because Scots are independent minded anyway.

    The rest of the UK can take care of itself, we should welcome the change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.


    'Good luck to the Scots if they believe what their ministers say'

    Well let's be honest, should anyone believe UK ministers -

    vote LibDem - no university fee rise
    we're all in this together - Tories

    SNP have given us free universal education for all, free prescriptions, lower council taxes etc.

    I know who I believe!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    The SNP seem to want it both ways. Protection from RBS collapsing and keeping Sterling. You CANT have it both ways. You're either IN or OUT simple!

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    None of these reports matter, the vote will go down sectarian lines;

    Majority of Protestants and immigrants will vote to stay in
    Majority of Catholics will vote for Independence

    I'm not sure of the breakdown but whichever is larger will get their way

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.


    Paul your point of view stems from your lack of comprehension of available information. Don't blame others for that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    The SNP is trying to use “Braveheart” nationalism to dupe the electorate into making an emotional choice as opposed to a rational one

    What kind of independence chooses to have a foreign central bank control it’s monetary policy and currency?

    This is nothing but a vanity trip for the SNP, with potential consequences that will affect the Scottish ppl for many years to come

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Yes, economic performance would be transformed by SNP policies. But don't worry, no matter how bad it gets, King Alex and his political elite will ensure that enough taxes will be taken from the Scots to keep themselves in the lap of luxury from where they will survey their impoverished kingdom and congratulate themselves on a job well done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Scotland should break away asap they got rid of most tories & get out from under the foot from government like Cameron & Thatcher where the rich & powerful all & end all for them & sod everyone else,for the tories to do anything for most people farther north than potters bar they get nose bleed & shakes

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Why is it that Scots cannot afford to heat their homes in an energy-rich Scotland? Vote YES

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    @102 The Baron

    I think you will find if there is a Tory run govt in England and Wales then great ... they are slowly pulling the UK out of the worst recession ever created by Labour ... I'd consider moving south just to get some of that action

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Independence MIGHT be a positive move but ALL decisions come with costs and risks and the SNP seem completely incapable of talking about them or even acknowledging they exist and so I just cannot take them seriously.
    How are we supposed to make an informed judgement if all we get is "it is going to be great"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Another point, who says being in the EU is what everyone wants / needs, there is a UK referendum on it in 2017 anyway and as it has been said "There is nothing to suggest Scotland wuold not be accepted into the EU if it did apply"


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