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 990.

    As an outsider who made United Kingdom his home. It is sad to see that racism is such a big problem here. No I am not talking about racism against Muslims,South Asians,Somalis.......

    English Vs Scottish

    Common, get over it guys, you fought wars over this hundreds of years ago, but have been living as a union for so long.

    People don't even know the price they will have to pay for the separation!

  • rate this

    Comment number 989.

    What sickens me is the way the UK government keep "paying bribes" to the Scott’s to keep them in the Union.
    If they want to go then let them.
    If they want to stay then it’s on the same terms as the rest of us.
    Stop treating Scotland like a problem child in need of special care.

  • rate this

    Comment number 988.

    If it will work out to be better for the people of Scotland for them to gain independence, then fair enough and good luck to them. But I honestly don't think it will.

    And it saddens me to see all the anti-English/anti-Scottish sentiment. It's one thing to have banter and a laugh, but genuine hatred makes no sense at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 987.

    When the vote is no what will Salmond and the rest of his cronies do then, crawl away to some little hole and talk about what if for the rest of their sorry lives.

  • Comment number 986.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 985.

    Rather than Salmond and Swinney yet again promising the earth, we need to know the basics such as how much it will cost us to set up our own Inland Revenue, Armed Services, Broadcasting Corporation, Border Controls, Passport Office, DVLA, DWP, Security Services, FSA, etc. etc. etc.etc......

  • rate this

    Comment number 984.

    I do hope all the people who voted for a devolved parliament, are now happy with all this nonsense over the past 2 days.

    Do you see what you started? You should have vote No/No when you had the chance and you should vote No next year.

    This is a devisive debate in a world where we claim to be drawing closer to our neighbours and forging closer links across the globe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 983.

    Scotland is either a country or it isn't. If it is then its people should have a vote on whether they want to be part of something else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 982.

    Yeah good grief - whatever - just get on with it for heavens sake!

  • rate this

    Comment number 981.

    @951 countryboy

    Kind of get what you mean but be assured if that was to happen then I would not want to see the aftermath of what would be probably the worst gorilla war the world have ever seen perhaps!

  • rate this

    Comment number 980.

    4 Minutes ago
    @925 tony

    I don't have a problem with that tony as but the mass migration of the English coming up here to the Highlands because they cant stand their own country might have something to say about that!

    Whats Ironic about this comment is double the amount of Scottish live in England. And I also know many Scots who cannot stand their country and its horrid bigotry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 979.

    If I had a business in Scotland I would be Very worried. If most of your customer base is 'the rest of the UK' you should be a trifle concerned because if Scotland leaves the UK do not think the English will be inclined to purchase Scottish produce any longer.

    On that note, I just bought a bottle of English whisky at M&S and it is better than half the Scottish variety...

  • rate this

    Comment number 978.

    #962 Aduphanel

    we are not all torys here you know . freedom for wessex

  • rate this

    Comment number 977.

    All I can say, is it would be quite sad to see Scotland leave the Union, regardless of what they think of the English and vice versa. To me it does not make much sense as to why they would leave, but then again I do not live in Scotland. Vote wisely is all I would recommend. Like the UK should vote wisely about leaving the EU. Both I would vote NO on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 976.

    Splitting the UK is an interesting idea.So, lets look at the 'could' in the article first. Everything the SNP offers is a 'could' not a solid fact. What are solid facts are that RBS and HBOS, two of the richest and most productive elements of the Scots economy, went broke and 'would' have left Scotland an Iceland. Any discussions will cost millions and a breakup billions. For Pete's sake, "NO!!!!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 975.

    To my Scottish 'brethren', please, please GO. I can't stand anymore of your bleating. My only regret is that the English can't also vote in this referendum; if we could Scotland would indeed gain its independence.

  • Comment number 974.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 973.


    Your disparaging comment about high taxes leaves out the fact that Norway's economic model is a 'high wages, high taxes' affair so people there can afford to pay more.

    Unlike the 'low wages, low social security, high taxes' being championed by Cameron and his something for nothing spongers who want to drive us back to the feudal ages.

  • rate this

    Comment number 972.

    69. scunnered

    Scots do feel disenfranchised though, because government in Westminster- of any hue- follows policies that do not chime with us.

    No offense at all, but this made me laugh a lot.

    The Westminster policies do not chime with ANYONE in UK !!!

    Do you think the government of Independent Scotland will be any different ?
    Really ???!

  • rate this

    Comment number 971.

    I'm so saddened by this split. It should NEVER have been proposed, let alone accepted by DC. @943 (suggesting Manchester should go too), no one should go! The angst shown towards Scotland is pushing moderate Scots towards disunion. This was always going to be a highly divisive, destructive, backward, hate fuelling proposal. All our past advances ruined. I'm devastated. Scot descendent in London.


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