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 450.

    As Alistair Darling has Scottish parents and was raised/educated in Scotland - but happened to be born in London - I'm pretty sure that the only thing he's worried about is who will pay his (enormous) Parliamentary pension & which side of the border he will have to live if Scotland voted yes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    Cut Corp tax, free Uni, free care, free prescriptions. Energy exporter but still imports 82% of base electricity usage from across the border (didn't tell you that did he-sells windpower cheap at night) = no money from England, falling oil & gas revenues and more. Lets get my fag packet umm +-?!+-. Sorry Alex but you have a massive hole somewhere. Where will you get the money from. Pray tell us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    I think most Scots would be happy with a federal UK (along German lines) with 12 local parliaments controlling tax and spending decisions locally with a central parliament (maybe in Yorkshire) elected by proportional representation.

    The problem is that this will never happen. We live in one of the most centralised countries in the world and the politicians have no desire to change this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    Yes it will transform the Scottish economy.

    Without the annual huge subsidy from England Scotland will be on a par with Serbia or Hungary.

    They will have to give up so many benefits that are paid for from London. They won't even be able to afford their overblown parliament.

    Scotland's greatest days are long in the past.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.


    Corporation tax cut = A big MIDDLE finger to YOU the people.

    Hang on, lets save our companies £millions and then squander the DEFICIT FROM THE PEOPLE

    Your all MUGS

    just like the rest of the UK allowing the TAX DODGING CRIMINALS IN LONDON TO DICTATE WHAT YOU EARN / DONT EARN

    Foolish generation

    Selfish public


  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    I think it's quite obvious that ANY person with normal financial means would be better off without the Conservative Party. Therefore of course in the vast majority, Scotland are bound to be better off if they go independant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    @ 418.Better In Than Out

    "All the facts' will not exist prior to the referendum"

    I think they already exist, they just haven't been published.

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    As a slightly different option, why not kick the House of Commons out of Westminster? Whilst not geographically central, London is possibly on average easier to get to - but that aside, things like housing costs would be cheaper in the north (be it northern England of Scotland) and it'd motivate a proper look at transport infrastructure.

    Maybe make it travel around the country like a circus

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    In 40 years the oil will be gone anyway, that FACT cannot be disputed by either side. I do not want to consign my Grandchildrens generation to AGAIN have to go cap in hand to Westminster just so 'Alec' can get his statue on The Mound!

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.
    However, if it all goes pear shaped then don't come back to Westminster cap in hand. Deal?

    Agreed. After all, this is how the UK started 300yrs ago. Google 'Darien Scheme'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    so if they do manage to go independent what will they change their currency to? because they will no longer be apart of our union.

  • Comment number 439.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.


    Sure, but who do you think will dictate the terms? As with what is likely to happen if UKIP persuade us to fall out of Europe, any re-entry is likely to have to be painfully renegotiated from a very weak position - that independence will have been proven to be a failure and the economy in the tailspin that implies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    The Scots will decide what they think will be best for them - do they want to be ruled by a bunch of arrogant toffs in Westminster or not. They may consider the SNP a better alternative. Who knows?

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.


    fact is you were shown to be ignorant of Scottish history
    there were troops deployed in glasgow with tanks on the streets in 1919 & 1926 to prevent the perceived threat of an uprising. The Jaboite uprisings of 1715 ^ 1745 were based in Scotland whilst you claimed 300 years of peace with no troops deployed would be broken by independance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    Gosh all this hate. Us nice Ayrshire Folk are quite blue......

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    We got Scotland when we paid its debts from its failed colony expansion dreams.

    In addition to the Scots referendum, could we in England also have one on whether we still want Scotland or vote on giving it back for free.

    The result may surprise many of our politicians clamouring for size of population over the desires of voters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    Really, no tourism in London, Cardiff, Belfast, the Lakes, Cornwall? No banking in Scotland, it's bl**dy huge in Edinburgh? IT, Scotland's domain, but not the rest of the UK, really, where's the programming done for all British military/aviation projects? Whisky, but no alcoholic drinks are exported from the rest of the UK (gin, wine, ales, etc.)?
    The oil's Norwegian btw.

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    My ancestors were border reivers rustling English livestock from the C13th - C15th. Scotland was always poor - the Romans didn't think it worth conquering. Since the crowns were united under a Scottish king, Scots have done much better - particularly in the days of empire (look at Scottish names in the colonies). There are benefits to size. Misplaced romantics should not obscure reality

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    If Scotland goes independent does that mean Prince Charles and the D of E will stop wearing kilts? I do hope so.

    Prince William and now Harry have both started wearing kilts? lets hope that an independent Scotland will stop them doing it?

    Prince Charles wearing a kilt certainly gave Diana the willies. You could see the weary expression on her face!


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