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Yes and No campaigns clash over the finance behind Scottish indendpence Danny Lawson; PA |
6 hours ago
With both the Yes and the No campaigns for Scottish independence making their financial cases today, MSN looks at where they stand on the key economic topics.
The cost of new policies
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has claimed that the new policies the Scottish government has said it wishes to pursue would cost £1.6bn per year.
However, the Yes campaign has denied this, saying they that the figure is misleading and that they would offset the cost through an expected increase in productivity and employment.
The Treasury has stated that oil and gas revenues will fall by 95% over the next 20 years as a proportion of UK revenue – effectively halving their total value. Currently oil revenues account for 15% of Scotland’s total economic output.
However, Scottish first minister Alex Salmond claimed the UK Government’s figures were unreliable and that they were based on an unrealistically low estimate for the cost of a barrel of oil.
Oil revenues fluctuate wildly, however, with them providing the UK government £6.6bn last year but £11.3bn the year before.
Danny Lawson; PA
UK’s national debt is currently £1.185 trillion and neither side discussed how much of that an independent Scotland would take on.
The cost of transition
The Treasury has released figures stating that the cost of setting up the infrastructure required to run Scotland would cost approximately £1.5bn – approximately 1% of its annual economic output. This was based on plans by the Scottish government to create 180 new public bodies.
However, the Yes campaign has argued that the figures are badly wrong and that many of these bodies already exist. They were keen to point out that two of the individuals involved in researching these figures have since questioned the methodology behind the Treasury’s numbers.
Danny Alexander did say that this was actually a “trivial” matter in the Scotland’s long term economic future.
Alex Salmond has said that a Scottish tax collection system would be 25% cheaper to run. However, the Treasury has estimated that it will cost £700m to set up such a system and that Scottish finance minister John Swinney admitted it would cost between £525m and £625 in a private memo last year.
Danny Lawson; PA
Barclays Bank thinks Scotland is twice as likely to adopt its own currency as it is to continue with the pound, despite claims by Alex Salmond that they would be allowed to use the UK currency.
Better or worse off?
Unsurprisingly, the two sides also have different opinions on whether Scots would be wealthier or poorer post-independence. The Yes campaign projects that each family will be £2,000 richer each year for the next fifteen years, while the No campaign predicts that each person will be £1,400 poorer over the next twenty.
While Danny Alexander declared that he would be willing to debate the figures with Alex Salmond at any time, Scotland's first minister insisted he would only do so once he had taken on David Cameron.