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Former PM's appeal

Brown demands SNP ‘opens books’ to provide indy facts

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown: ‘SNP cannot be judge and jury’ (pic: Terry Murden)

A majority of Scots say the SNP has failed to provide enough facts about the benefits of independence, according to a new poll.

Nearly two-thirds felt they did’t have enough information to make a decision on leaving the union.

Fewer than a third were confident about SNP plans for the English border, Scotland’s security arrangements, tax, currency, EU membership, and UK negotiations.  

Following the survey results from Our Scottish Furture, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown declares that the SNP must “open the books”.

He warns that the SNP Government cannot be both judge and jury when setting out the case for an independent nation.  

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Instead, he argues that the SNP should be prepared to open its case up to public scrutiny through parliamentary hearings.  

Delivering a second referendum on independence was ranked fifth for SNP voters – below NHS catch up, reducing COVID, protecting and generating jobs and eliminating poverty.  

Among “middle Scotland” – the 40% of voters identified by Our Scottish Future who are open minded on the question of independence and the Union – preparing for a second referendum was bottom on the list of priorities.  

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Mr Brown said: “Middle Scotland’s support for the SNP and for independence is conditional – and they are now asking the SNP for honesty, for openness and for getting the facts on the table. It is time for the SNP to open the books.”  

“When even a quarter of committed independence supporters agree we don’t know enough to make an informed choice on independence, surely the onus is on the SNP to come clean?”  

A thousand Scots were polled by Stack Data Strategy between the 7 and 8 May.

Further analysis on the economics of independence has claimed that a Scottish currency would initially be worth around 20% less than the pound, lowering household incomes and pushing up prices.

Tony Mackay

Tony Mackay: ‘people deserve objective analysis’

Tony Mackay, an adviser to the World Bank, said independence would cut exports to England by 15% because of the border created by the SNP’s plan to rejoin the EU.

He said there was no doubt “an independent Scotland could be economically viable”, but people deserved “an objective analysis” of the implications before voting on it.

He said a new currency, because of Scotland’s public finances and lack of a track record, would initially “be 18 to 22 per cent lower than that of the pound sterling”.

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“It is possible that the exchange rate would increase over time but it could also worsen.”

Mr Mackay also that an independent Scotland “would have to eliminate or reduce” its public sector deficit “as quickly as possible”.

He said: “That would mean increasing taxes and other government revenues, and cutting public expenditure. An obvious conclusion is that the Scottish growth rate would continue to be lower until the problems had been solved.”

The data emerges as more than 160 senior businessmen and women have co-signed an open letter calling on the Scottish Government to rule out plans for a referendum breaking up the UK. 

SBUK chief executive Struan Stevenson said:   “The message from business reflects the same message sent by voters to politicians of all parties at last week’s elections: they expect the new Scottish Government to steer the country through the Covid-19 crisis toward long term recovery.

“That entails setting aside plans for a referendum on breaking up the UK so that the attentions and energies of policymakers are undivided. 

“The support received for this letter shows that business leaders in Scotland are of the same opinion that plans for a referendum are a huge distraction from the task at hand.

“The Scottish Government needs to listen and stop trying to position the election result as a pretext for breaking up the UK, which is by far Scotland’s biggest market.”   



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