On 'Independence Day'...

Indy vote ‘would have cost Scots £1700 each’

Ruth Davidson at rallyScottish Tories today launch a new attack on independence in a report stating that if Scotland had voted to leave the UK it would have cost every Scot £1,700 a year.

The paper, by economics analyst Kevin Hague, calculates that it may have taken 90 years for Scotland to have closed the £9 billion-a-year deficit gap it currently has with the UK.

The report is published on what would have been “Independence Day” when the SNP said Scotland would split from the UK if there had been a Yes vote.

The Scottish Conservatives commissioned today’s report which is based on the Scottish Government’s own figures, drawn from its annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) paper.

Mr Hague states: “What the GERS numbers show us is that the likely price we would have paid for independence had there been a Yes vote would have been of the order of £9bn a year; that’s about £1700 a year for every man, woman and child in Scotland.”

He adds: “To close the deficit gap with the UK – to be in a situation where becoming independent wouldn’t make Scots immediately worse off – would require Scotland to out-grow the rest of the UK by 17%.”

He concludes: None of this is to suggest that Scotland couldn’t be an independent country or that raw economics should be the only consideration.

“But if we’re to be honest about the economic implications, it now seems clear that independence will only happen within our lifetimes if the majority of Scots are willing to vote to become considerably worse off, quite possibly for generations to come.”

Ruth Davidson interviewedScottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:Kevin earned an unparalleled reputation during the referendum debate for his forensic economic analysis.

“I am extremely grateful for his work in pulling this report together. Let’s be clear: it wouldn’t be the rich who’d suffer from the SNP’s con trick on independence.

“It would be the poor who rely on benefits, the sick who rely on our NHS, and the elderly who need our care.

“Nicola Sturgeon said the last referendum would be ‘once in a generation’.

“She has now gone back on that pledge, and declared she wants to start a fresh campaign after the election. It’s not on.

“This report makes it ever clearer that we need to stand up against the SNP’s independence drive. Unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats, we will not give ground on independence.

“So every vote for me in the election this year is a vote which says we will not be dragged back to more division and another referendum by the SNP.

“Together we can hold the SNP to account.”

Speaking yesterday at a rally in Princes St, Edinburgh, the Tory leader said: “If Nicola Sturgeon thinks we’re getting another independence referendum we are going to stand up and stop her.”

Referring to the SNP’s decision not to pass on the Chancellor’s tax cuts north of the border, Ms Davidson said: “We do not want a sign at the border saying ‘the highest taxed part of the UK’ “.

On her ambitions to overtake Labour in Scotland, she said: “This country deserves a proper opposition that will hold the government to account.”

Photos: by Terry Murden

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