Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Rival Scots industry visions set out

Media captionAlex Salmond said manufacturing could be boosted under independence, but Alistair Darling said businesses did not need another border

The campaigns for and against independence have set out plans to boost industry across the nation.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said an independent Scotland could increase manufacturing by 30% by 2030.

And Alistair Darling, leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, said Scotland in the UK had access to a large, single market.

The two visions were set out ahead of the 18 September independence referendum.

During a visit to Fife, Mr Salmond set out a government blueprint for the "reindustrialisation of an independent Scotland".

The plan involves:

  • Creating a Scottish innovation agency and business development bank
  • A "modern and efficient tax system" to support industry
  • Setting up a network of 70-90 overseas offices to boost exports and Scotland's international profile

The first minister said: "Scotland's wealth, talent and resources mean we have the potential to become a global hub for the industries of the future.

"To achieve this requires a national mission where we come together as a country to reindustrialise Scotland for the 21st Century."

Image caption Alistair Darling used a distillery visit to lay out the benefits of Scotland in the Union

He added: "We already have world-class manufacturing companies and Scottish economic performance has improved with the limited decision-making powers of devolution."

Mr Salmond argued that Scotland, under the Westminster government, was part of an "unbalanced" system in which investment levels were below many key competitors.

But Mr Darling, who visited a whisky distillery in Ayrshire, said Scotland in the Union gave businesses access to a single market of 63 million people, and a network of 270 embassies and consulates around the world.

The former chancellor said: "I want to see all Scottish industries doing well.

"Renewables is a case where it benefits from a UK-wide subsidy. If you take the whisky industry - an outstanding success for Scotland - one of its biggest export markets is just across the border in England."

Image caption First Minister Alex Salmond said an independent Scotland had a bright manufacturing future

He went on: "Why on earth put a barrier between a manufacturer or a distiller and their customers? It makes no sense whatsoever.

"My argument for the UK is, you've got a much, much bigger market - that's the best way of helping Scottish industrialists.

"All across the world, you see where you've got a border, it affects trade badly because you've got different tax systems, different accounting systems, different regulations and currency transactions.

"These are barriers that don't need to exist."