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 330.

    Funny that HMG have not told the rest of us what the impact will be if Scotland does go...

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    A well educated small population Scotland will do very well. Compared to an ill educated over populated England?

    There will be plenty of room for expansion and growth in Scotland while there is little or no room left in England?

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    "221. Ayrlee
    Sadly Scotland has one of the lowest life expectancies in Europe."

    Diet, lifestyle, alcohol, tobacco, weather, geography....... how would independence change that? Typical Scottish winge: "it's England's fault not my own". There are plenty of parts of England & Wales with similar issues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    307 Gotty.

    What expenses incurred? Do you mean in finding the oil in the first place? No tax payer money (UK) was involved. All the oil discoveries and developments were funded by private enterprise. I think the UK has had it's share of the oil for a long time. Scotland can manage it better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    @205 - Try reading posts 198 and 188 to get an idea of what I mean and why you are talking rot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    @257 No Scot will vote Yes to spite the UK, no one will vote Yes because of Braveheart. Please give us credit for having some kind of intelligence.

    Please don't be so damn naiive. If the Scottish Sun backs the YES vote then Salmond will be front page with a saltire face with the heading "FREEDOM!". There are enough numpties to vote based on that. More than enough!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    After 300 years of stability,..troops on the streets of Glasgow

    Tanks on the streets of Glasgow in 1919 to quell potential communist uprising

    & again in 1926

    poll tax protests 1990, not to mention Jacobites in 1715 & 1745

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    "So why does Mr Swinney want Scotland to keep the GB pound , controlled by the BOE? If Scotland goes it must accept full reponsibility for its own policies and that means it must have its own currency."

    The BoE is independent of Government and belongs equally to both Scottish and English governments. Both sides have a right to use the currency.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    I am born and bred in Scotland but still want a 'No' vote. I'm proud to be Scottish and British! All this talk of a 'Yes' vote stinks of Anti-English to me which is this day and age is so disappointing! A 'Yes' vote would be a very black day for Scotland indeed....

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    Amazing that the same people complaining about the Scots and Independence, are the same people who moan about the benefit system and HS2 etc ... all run by the current UK government. Can you blame the Scots for seeking change.The SNP at least have an interest in its country and its people. The desire for independence only shows how incompetent Westminster is and are at least trying to change that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    297 MightyScotsPine - Don't talk utter rot. The only ones who bring violence are the hate-filled SDL & EDL far-right British Nationalist groups.
    Have you been listening to George Galloway by any chance?
    The independence movement has been entirely peaceful and has absolutely nothing in common with NI. Why do you need to lie so blatantly in order to justify your position?

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Complete lack of leadership, only severance of responsibility coming out of Westminster. Well done the Scottish for wanting independence!! They understand the economy of the future is built on renewable energy not just gas coal and nuclear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    298. Leaguefan

    "Scotland has ship building, whiskey and tourism."

    It also has one of the larger financial hubs outside of London, successful and growing tech industry, medical research, green energy research and manufacturing, exports a huge amount of produce, trains a lot of the rest of the world in the Oil industry etc etc

    There's a very good reason westminster wants to hold onto Scotland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    278. Argent Pur
    "The majority of the English outside London feel the same."

    Look at voting records for London and think again;

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    I'll be voting no. It's clear to me that God sent the UK to make the whole world civilised. And we're not done yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Scottish independence represents a golden opportunity to form a whole new country 'Greater England'.

    Then Greater England can just renege on the UK's old debts. After all, half of them were run up by that incompetent Scottish jackass, Brown, in the first place.

    We'll need a new currency though. We'll call it the English Pound.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    What grotesque self-delusion on the part of the Scottish separatists! Let them go their own way,and when it all falls apart and they ask to rejoin The UK,let us tell them NO! - you made your bed,now you must sleep in it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    Lets not get Racist in any comments here.

    The choice is with the Scottish people.

    The proviso is that if they do vote for independence then they must all accept the consequences of their decision. No coming across the border to claim benefits from the UK Government when oil runs out and Scotland goes bankrupt!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    AS been on the fence I am part English and part scots I have relatives still in Scotland. I say Scotland go for independence I think you will do well, you look after your pensioners better than UK. It appears the English parliament are worried because they are trying everything to put the scots off independence, SCOTLAND go for independence !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    The media war of pro and cons of Scottish independency. It seems nothing more than to be a press plaything to provoke public opinion. This is peoples' lives you are playing with. Nobody made the media into Gods.


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