Scottish Independence Referendum: myths must be debunked
30 Apr 2014 02:23 PM
Chief Secretary Danny Alexander will say in a
keynote speech to business leaders in Edinburgh that Independence White Paper
myths must be debunked.
is time to debunk the calculations and claims that have been put forward by the
Scottish government in this referendum, Chief Secretary Danny Alexander will
say in a keynote
speech to business leaders in Edinburgh today (30
myths and 10 facts about the Scottish Independence
Speaking on the day of publication by HMRC of new oil
revenue data and ahead of publication of the government’s most
comprehensive analysis of the fiscal consequences of separation yet, the Chief
Secretary will challenge some of the myths perpetuated by nationalists and call
on the Scottish Government to be honest with people about the cost of
Visit the Scottish
independence referendum page for more information
will also call on the Scottish Government – and Finance Secretary John
Swinney – to publish revised and realistic forecasts of oil and gas
Danny Alexander will say:
nationalists’ assertions on Scotland’s finances are at best
ill-informed and at worst, deeply misleading to Scottish voters. The fact is
that their £1.5 trillion figure for the value of oil left in the North
Sea doesn’t include any costs for getting the oil out of the ground and
into the petrol pump.
Over the whole 5 year period of the Scottish
government’s Oil and gas bulletin [2012 to 2017], their most cautious
forecast for Scottish oil and gas revenues is £41 billion. Yet the
independent Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that whole UK revenues
will be just £25 billion over the same period. It doesn’t matter
how deep you drill into the figures, they simply don’t add up. The
indisputable point is that we are better off together.
is time for the Scottish Government to confirm what we all know: that the White
Paper was wrong, to correct the discredited Oil and gas bulletin and the errors
at the heart of the White Paper. The Scottish government must confront the fact
that it is promising tax revenues and public spending that it cannot deliver.
It should revise its oil and gas forecasts or better yet, follow international
best practice and follow an independent forecast like the OBR’s. It is
the very least that the Scottish voters deserve.
the myths perpetuated about independence, Mr Alexander will
It’s perhaps true that the Referendum campaign
here in Scotland hasn’t provided many laughs so far and given both the
enormity – and the irreversibility – of the choice we face, that is
perfectly understandable. But as the campaign continues, when it comes to some
of the statements and assertions made by nationalists, you really do need a
sense of humour.
some of the basic financial assumptions made in the White paper, he will say
that the nationalists ‘ignore the reality, that when the financial crisis
hit, it was the government of the United Kingdom that stepped in to
recapitalise RBS and HBOS and the taxpayers of the United Kingdom that extended
£275 billion of total support to RBS alone’.
currency, he will challenge the:
Continued, belligerent, assertion that Scotland could
– and would – keep the pound. Alex Salmond has to face up to the
fact that the rest of the UK does not have to – and would not want to
– continue to share the credit card.
on UK institutions, he will say:
There is also the fantastical claim, made in the White
Paper that an independent Scotland would share a third of the UK’s
institutions and services despite the fact that this is completely
unprecedented anywhere in the world. This is a claim we have to listen to
whenever an institution crops up that the nationalists haven’t had time
to think about. So it won’t surprise me if next Saturday night Alex
Salmond declares that an independent Scotland will share the UK’s
automatic place in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest!
Treasury’s forthcoming fiscal analysis will set out the benefits of the
UK and the costs of independence. In the absence of any detailed costings from
the Scottish government, Treasury economists have spent months analysing data
and forecasts and consulting with independent bodies to calculate in detail the
figures that illustrate the benefits of the UK and the cost of
analysis will be published in coming weeks and will set out in more detail than
ever before the impact of having to absorb higher spending and lower tax within
Scotland alone, and exacerbated by declining oil revenues and an ageing
population. It will look at the Scottish government’s uncosted policy
pledges and the set up costs of independence within a much smaller budget. It
will come on top of detailed analysis already published by the IFS and others
and a secret paper leaked last year written by the Finance Minister John
Swinney forecasting a similar challenge.
Read the full text
of Danny Alexander’s speech