Scotland politics

Scottish independence: MSPs to study economic impact of referendum result

Scottish money
Image caption The MSPs will study what might happen to the economy in the event of a "Yes" and a "No" vote

The possible economic impact of next year's independence referendum result will be scrutinised by MSPs.

The Scottish Parliament's economy committee wants to hear from key figures in business and the banking sector as well as Holyrood ministers.

Representatives from pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland and pro-Union campaign group Better Together will also answer the questions of MSPs.

Voters in Scotland go to the polls on Thursday, 18 September.

They will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

As well as quizzing campaigners and politicians the economy committee will speak to academics.

Members hope to start taking evidence in February, with the inquiry likely to last four months and conclude ahead of the referendum itself.

Convener Murdo Fraser said: "This will be one of the most significant decisions Scotland is going to make and we think it is absolutely right parliament does its utmost to scrutinise the implications of a 'Yes' or 'No' vote.

"We hope the evidence sessions we will hold as a committee will be right at the heart of the debate and will help inform the public debate."

The committee will investigate Scotland's "potential economic future" whether it votes to stay in the UK or become independent.

Key issues that will be considered include monetary policy and currency, fiscal policy such as taxation, spending, borrowing and debt, plus welfare provision.

Conservative MSP, Mr Fraser added: "We are facing next year probably the most significant political question anyone in Scotland will be asked, possibly in their lifetime.

"As the economy committee we want to focus on the impact that will have on Scotland's economy, looking at both what will happen in the event of a yes vote and equally what will happen in the event of no vote.

"It will be major piece of work for the committee which will reflect the importance of the decision the country is being asked to make next year."

Vice-convener Dennis Robertson said the inquiry would be a "platform for people to come and give evidence".

The SNP MSP added: "The most important thing will be the vote on September 18, 2014, but before that we are providing an opportunity for business, academia, people from the yes and no camp, senior politicians."

Mr Robertson said that MSPs on the committee would put their own views on independence to one side, "and examine as best we can those facts and opinions so we can put them on the record for the wider public".

Mr Fraser said the committee wanted "people from across Scotland who might have an interest in the subject to come and talk to us".

He added: "We want to start hearing from senior UK and Scottish government ministers to set the scene, and also hear from the yes and no campaigns on their vision for the economy.

"We're keen to get the business community speaking out too, a lot of businesses so far have been reluctant for understandable reasons to be particularly vocal on this question. Perhaps as we get closer to the vote we will get more people prepared to come out and put their views on the record."

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