Putting a financial price '¨on Scottish independence

Scottish independence would have cost every person in the Borders £1,700 - that's the findings of a Scottish Conservative commissioned report.

John Lamont, the Conservative candidate for the for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire seat at next month’s Holyrood election, said: “The report highlights for all to see the true cost of separation: £1,700 for every man, woman and child in the Borders.

“The SNP needs to be honest with Borderers and admit that a vote for separation is a vote to become considerably worse off, probably for generations to come.

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“The Scottish Borders contributed significantly to the vote to stay part of the United Kingdom and we should all be grateful for that.

“The SNP said the last referendum would be ‘once in a generation’, but have now gone back on that pledge, and declared they will start a fresh campaign this summer.

The paper, by economic analyst Kevin Hague also calculates that it would have take 90 years for Scotland to have closed the £9bn a year deficit gap it currently has with the United Kingdom.

It concludes that independence will only happen if Scots are “willing to vote to become considerably worse off, quite possibly for generations to come”.

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The report was published on ‘Independence Day’, March 24, 2016, when the SNP said Scotland would split from the UK if there had been a Yes vote.

The Scottish Conservative commissioned report is based on the SNP’s figures, drawn from its annual Government and Expenditure and Revenue Scotland paper, and concludes that “the likely price we would have paid for independence would have been of the order of £9bn a year; about £1700 a year for every man, woman and child in Scotland.” The report highlights the White Paper claim that the “bonus” of being independent could lead to a cumulative 3.8 per cent superior growth over a 30 year period but reaching a different conclusion from the figures Mr Hague concludes that “it would take over 90 years” for the price of independence to be paid off.

Challenging the figures, SNP candidate Paul Wheelhouse said: ““These figures add little value. This is an attempted distraction by a Tory party lacking a positive vision for Scotland.

“Any public sector deficit suggested has clearly occurred while Scotland is still in the United Kingdom – and therefore represents a measure of a failure of the Union to grow Scotland’s economy- and the figures make no allowance for policy changes that could be made by the Government of an independent Scotland to stimulate Scotland’s economy and reflect Scotland’s spending priorities.

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“An independent Scotland would not have had to contribute a penny towards overseas military interventions we do not support, nor pay towards the proposed, £167 billion cost of replacing Trident nuclear weapons that the people of Scotland do not want.

“Scotland would also gain through increased EU funding for our farmers, given the UK Government currently withholds almost all of the 233 million Euros of convergence funding awarded to the UK.”

“Arguably, an independent Scotland would not have built up such a huge national debt as the UK either, given that Scotland’s North Sea oil sector has contributed over £300 billion to the UK Treasury since oil production commenced, during which time the UK debt has largely occurred.

“I will leave it to the Tories to carry on talking Scotland and her people down, but I and my colleagues will continue to champion a nation and people with huge potential.”