12 Feb Scottish independence: economy will be a success after independence, says expert group
Scotland will be a successful independent country, says expert group
Scottish independence: economy will be a success after independence, says expert group
by Jamie Mann
“Scotland has not completely fulfilled its economic potential” and “there is no doubt” that it could be a successful independent country, according to a report by The Fiscal Commission Working Group.
The group of economists, chaired by former Scottish Enterprise chief executive Crawford Beveridge found that independence would “provide Scotland with the opportunity to capture and deliver faster sustainable economic growth, with greater opportunities to tackle key challenges in sustainability and inequality over the long-term”.
Scottish ministers could choose their own method to handle financial crises, with the “flexibility” of independence overshadowing any shortfalls, according to the SNP-established commission.
While Scotland would still retain the Bank of England as its central bank, the nation would establish its own financial regulator, alongside a Scottish Monetary Institute and Fiscal Commission.
Austerity will however continue in Scotland, “irrespective” of the outcome of next year’s independence referendum and the nation must practice strict spending and borrowing limits with the rest of the UK.
Though the UK government will not negotiate such matters pre-independence, there would have to be a “fiscal stability agreement” between Edinburgh and London to transfer Scotland’s share of national debt.
As the group confirmed that a sterling union could be established from day one of independence, such a move would be beneficial for both states, due to a long running trade reliance between Scotland and the remainder of the UK.
The report also highlighted Scotland’s macroeconomic strengths including its position as “one of the richest nations in Europe” in energy such as North Sea reserves and renewables.
There are an estimated 24 billion barrels of oil and gas remaining in the Scottish waters, although the future value of the finite resources is not guaranteed.
However, renewable potential is even more prominent, with Scotland holding:
· 25% of all of Europe’s potential offshore wind and tidal energy
· One tenth of Europe’s wave power potential
· An estimated 50% of Europe’s potential offshore storage capacity – providing opportunity in carbon capture and storage.
In addition, citing a strong Scottish economy due to many specialities including science, engineering, food and drink and tourism, the board of experts described Scotland as a “wealthy country” which is “on a par with many other successful independent countries”.
Financial success in Scotland in terms of asset management and insurance has allowed the nation to “remain an extremely attractive location for international investment.”
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