Scottish independence: Gordon Brown issues warning over UK debt

image copyrightReuters
image captionGordon Brown said an independent Scotland refusing to accept a share of UK debt would be considered a "default"

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has said an independent Scotland would become "an international outcast" if it refused to accept a share of UK debt.

In a speech in Coatbridge on Monday night, Mr Brown said refusing to take on debt would be considered as a "default".

He said this would push up interest rates and the cost of borrowing.

The SNP says Scotland cannot be liable for a debt the UK government has accepted full responsibility for.

In the first of a series of speeches Gordon Brown is to make across Scotland, he described defaulting on debt as a "road to ruin" and said even Zimbabwe was honouring its international debt commitments.

He went on to say "we are an interdependent world" and called on Scottish people to "build on something we have built over the last century" naming "Scottish ideas, Scottish leaders" as having helped shape the UK.

Mr Brown claimed there were "five positives" to be enjoyed from remaining part of the UK:

  • one million jobs" linked to our membership of the UK"
  • £425 extra for pensioners from being part of the UK pension system
  • £1 billion more spending on the NHS than Scotland's population share
  • a lower cost of living "as part of the UK"
  • keeping the pound sterling

First Minister Alex Salmond has said Scotland would not be obliged to take on any debt after a "Yes" vote, if the rest of the UK refused to agree a formal pound-sharing deal.

The Scottish government insists Scotland cannot "default" on a debt it is not legally liable for, pointing out that the UK government has accepted liability for the whole debt in the event of independence.

Alex Salmond will set out his vision of the gains of independence for the food and drink industry on a visit to Eden Mill distillery and brewery in Guardbridge, Fife, on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of the visit he said: "More and more people are waking up to the fact that Scotland has a strong and diverse economy on which we can build a more prosperous future with control of key economic levers.

"Scotland is currently in the international spotlight like never before, but the huge publicity generated by a 'Yes' vote - and the transition to independence - will be the opportunity of a lifetime for our food and drink sector to extend its global reach even further."

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran and Labour MSP Iain Gray will be at Glasgow's Tennent Caledonian Breweries to highlight jobs and opportunities they say will be available as part of the UK.

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