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 230.

    @180 By far the biggest contributor to the bailout of 'UK' banks was the US Federal Reserve. The biggest payment was £550bn to Barclays. By international law bailouts are made where the ‘contagion’/losses occur, not the head office address

    90% of RBS’ UK operations are in London. Why would Scotland choose to bailout subsidiary companies registered in, and paying tax to, the City of London?

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    @69 scunnered

    Totally with you on that.

    If only we English could have a yes/no vote on Westminster.

    Instead, all we get is to choose is which party to vote for every 5 years or so.

    When each party shows how similar they are to each other with lies, cover ups, corruption and ineptness. A "none of the above" box should be on the ballot paper.

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    I think the biggest problem is that if Scotland does vote for independence then England will have a built in tory majority for the forseeable future. If the Scots don't vote for independence then the SNP will disappear in a puff of logic and the Unionist (Tories) will become stronger. Thus ensuring a built in tory majority for the forseeable future. Master stroke David Cameron

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    If they want independence then let them have it, but it must be complete independence and not have a position whereby they can have a fall back on Westminster if they cant balance the books. They would have to have complete separation and all that means and at their own cost not set up by the rest of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    Are these comment sections going to be English (& Scots with a brain) versus other Scots until the referendum?

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    This is piss poor journalism BBC. Spouting out propaganda today and yesterday, thinking you have covered both sides of the debate when in fact you've only acted as a mouthpiece for vested interests. Note: these stories didn't make it on the guardian's site but it's front page news for you! If you are interested in the debate try these:

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    And yet just yesterday on the BBC I heard that due to the dwindling oil and overspending gov't services and healthcare obligations an independent Scotland would become significantly poorer which is repeated in the article.
    So ministers say independence is good but others say independence is bad.
    I know who I don't believe.
    Careful what you vote for my Celtic cousins.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    After 300 years of stability, a vote with the potential to create sectarian conflict. Having troops on the streets of Glasgow to quell the violence in the model of 1970s Belfast. This is Salmond looking after Scotland ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    I really fail to see how Scotland can be economically better off on its own in the current world economy.The IFS report seems to support any common sense view in that its current resources are tied up in limited and diminishing industries and yet it has the same demographic and spending challenges as the rest of us. The SNP sound like a bunch of self-deluded nutters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Nobody is happy with Westminister and we struggle to pay for elderly already. Scotland can start afresh with new ideas, new political system and certainly no less money.
    Sadly Scotland has one of the lowest life expectancies in Europe. A more business competitive Scotland would have greater opportunity and draw in younger people for jobs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    I also love he part about "last 30 years we paid more in tax.." and in the last 10???
    Just for clarification, I love Scotland and the Scots, this is not about bashing them, but about pointing out I think they would be worse off. The people spouting independence do so for their own political motives and not for the benefit of those they claim to represent

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    I like the people don't get me wrong and it's a beautiful country and all but I do wish they'd go and do their own thing.

    The politics of the Scottish people are significantly at odds with the rest of the UK and are a millstone around the neck of England by constantly returning Labour governments.

    England only voted labour in 1997 all other victories by Tony were Scottish coups.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    Scotland could purse those policies, as the UK could, as the government was so small, the peoples of those geographical areas pursed enterprise policies themselves.

    Although some vestiges of mercantilism remained, trade was largely unhindered from protectionism. Yes, the Industrial Revolution was UK wide, and beyond.

    *You seem to be looking for an argument where none exists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    @165. ClaudeBalls

    Hehe, yeah we're all down a hole atm, but;

    Take into account Scotland's population % of the national debt. With the numbers as they stand atm, Scotland would pay down the debt quicker than the rest of UK.

    Basically I just want to eradicate this myth that Scotland is subsidised by the rest of the UK and is somehow so economically useless it couldn't possibly survive on it's own

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    It's not a vote for independence, it's a vote to be controlled by Brussels instead of Westminster. Scotland would have the political and financial clout of, say, Estonia. Many of the most talented Scots are living in England(I seem to work with most of them!-who mostly seem 'no' people) and they don't get a say? This is not a time for Braveheart it's time for common-sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Don't tell me, Gordon Brown did the figures - LOL!

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    There is a myth promulgated by some of the media and some contributors here that the Scots hate the English.
    Scots do feel disenfranchised though, because government in Westminster- of any hue- follows policies that do not chime with us.

    Same for most English people. We don't hate the Scots and you can ask folks from all over England even Surrey. All sick of Westminster & London.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Please please please vote yes. Anything to keep the idiotic Millishambles, "nightmare" Balls and indeed, any Labour Government as far away from power as possible. Just think, all those Scottish MP's heading north of the border - fantastic! No more irresponsible Governments who only know how to spend money and not make it - whooopppeeee!

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    why all the negativity surrounding independence? is it because England has more to lose than the scots. I suspect that to be the case. lets face it if the rest of England could disassociate itself from London it would.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    I thought this article was about the SNP's "respected think tanks'" report. It tells me more about yesterdays discredited IFS report than the SNP one.

    Biased state broadcaster?


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