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 390.

    Happy to have my option of voting Yes for Independence. If it works then fine.
    If it doesn't then we'll just rejoin

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    mog499 says "If they are better off they will keep independence if not they will rejoin the union so they don't lose either way." What on earth leads you to think that we will let them rejoin? Make your bed and lie on it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    360 Happy

    'can Mr Darling confirm there is also an ageing population in England '

    There is. But our govt hasn't promised them free-this, free-that, free-the-other.

    In Scotland's favour, people die much younger up there so individually they're paid less pension. Scotland will need to be wary of elderly health tourists looking for free care so they can leave money to their kids in England.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    @275 Will that be the same disdain for the Scots that has underwritten their shipyards (at the expense of the Tyne and Portsmouth), built carriers in Gordon Brown's backyard, moved thousands of UK Gov jobs to Scotland at the expense of the South of England and kept Scottish regiments (that can hardly fill their ranks) alive at the expense of English and Welsh ones. Hmm, sounds disdainful to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    Could I venture that if the Scots were as much a drain on the UK economy as is often claimed, then the Westminster Govt would not be so afraid of them leaving the UK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    It's sad how this has all become 'them' and 'us'. We all live on the same island and will prosper again together as the economy recovers (which it is doing). It's easy when times are hard to find someone to blame and make rash decisions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.

    Another little scotland debate.Its been thrashed out on HYS hundreds of times. Nothing new crops up. How about a debate on the upturn in the economy or maybe the train crash that is Labours current situation. Ah! but thats not condusive with BBC's left wing ideology. Careful Auntie, your little red slip is showing

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    Scotland has a great history in inventing things. The telephone, TV and so on. They just have a terrible history in making any money out of these ideas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 382.

    The Kraken oil field has a predicted 140 million barrels .Russia produces 10 million barrels a day. Thus the entire Kraken field is only equivalent to two weeks' output by Russia,or its equal,Saudi Arabia.To think that paltry amounts like this are an economic answer for independence is nonsense. Anyway,most of us grownups here will be voting to stay in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    It'll be transformed alright, into a wasteland with empty ship yards and public sector buildings, towns that depend on military bases, the base that houses the UK nuclear subs employs 14000 people alone. Where is salmonds plan to find alternative jobs for these people or is the plan to use oil money to pay people to sit on benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    What annoys me is the way Scotch nationalists carry on like they have been oppressed by the English. The action of union (following the ascension to the ENGLISH throne of the SCOTTISH King James VI) was just that: a UNION, not an occupation by the imperialst English! Surely the English have the same right to vote on dissolving this union as the Scottish?

  • rate this

    Comment number 379.

    I'll not hold my breath for anything meaningful to be in this report, it will be just more fairy dust and "Scotland will be a utopia" hogwash because it is obvious the SNP have no idea how the country could be run independently.They've based their whole plan on wishful thinking and surprise surprise its not going to plan!

  • rate this

    Comment number 378.

    @330. NorthCareer

    Absolutely. The possibility of losing the Oil/whisky/etc tax revenues, possibly being forced to disarm its Nuclear Arsenal and the reduced clout at the UN/Security council table that could undermine its seat entirely, how the markets will react to "losing" almost 10% of its population, the cost of possibly rebooting a war ship build.

    HMG has a huge amount to lose in this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 377.

    I want an English referendum on whether we can kick out Scotland irrespective of what they vote!

  • rate this

    Comment number 376.

    ..independent Scotland ..take on it's share of ..Uk debt or does the SNP think that they can just leave that behind

    The SNP have made it quite clear that Scotland will acquire a share of UK national debt, Ireland did, so there's precedent. Of course if it inherits a share of the UKs liabilities then its also inherits a share of the UKs assets & must be considered a successor state

  • rate this

    Comment number 375.


    Not all rosy with the Tories eh!"

    Jeezoh, you trotted this out yesterday and it does not prove your argument any better today than it did then !!!

    How about something original?

    p.s. Scots are far to savvy to vote for independence (which is what this article is about btw).

  • rate this

    Comment number 374.

    The bookies are never wrong: (No for Independence 1/8 on) (Yes for Independence 5/1) so stop wasting time and TAX PAYERS money!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 373.

    Will the Queen have to give up Balmoral if Scotland goes independent?

    No more Royals dressing up pretending to be Scottish? It was all Prince Albert's idea. He got his Scottish ideas from tourism brochures he saw in his native Germany

    Queen Victoria loved amateur dramatics, putting on family pantomime. The present Queen is still doing it? Shooting stags, wearing kilts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 372.

    I liked when these topics were only posted on the BBC Scotland page, so that only people who were interested in Scotland would post. The debate was of a far higher standard, there were few trolls & the balance was overwhelmingly pro-independence.
    Obviously the BBC can’t give pro-independence people in Scotland a voice, so moved it to a UK-wide page so they can be drowned out by lies & nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 371.

    @345 - if the Scots providing more tax than they get is true it's only because of the oil industry. Glasgow has the highest rate of unemployment in the entire UK. Scotland might be able to dig out of that with proper investment of the oil money in the mould of Norway, but Salmond wants to waste it on absurd and/or unsustainable projects.


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