Economic argument for independence ‘weaker than ever’

It comes after the Institute for Government said Scotland would face tough fiscal choices if it left the UK.

Economic argument for independence ‘weaker than ever’ PA Media

The economic case for Scottish independence is weaker than ever, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

Leader Douglas Ross made the claim after a report from the Institute for Government said Scotland would face tough fiscal choices in the first years of independence due to high deficits.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last week that the SNP has not done an economic analysis of the impact of independence on Scotland, adding that the estimates put forward ahead of the 2014 vote are now out of date.

Speaking on a visit to a glass engraving business on Wednesday, Ross claimed the SNP had not even undertaken a “fag packet calculation” of paying for the Covid-19 recovery.

“The SNP’s economic case for independence is weaker than ever,” he said.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s white paper (in 2014) was based on fantasy oil figures and that plan would have left Scotland facing super-charged austerity if we hadn’t voted No.

“Now the SNP are demanding another referendum in the first half of the Scottish Parliament without even a fag packet calculation of how to pay for Covid recovery.

“It is the strength of the United Kingdom seeing us through this crisis, through the UK furlough scheme and UK vaccination programme. The nationalists would have us break away from that stability, just when we need to stick together the most.

“The SNP’s plans for another referendum would smash Scotland’s fragile economic recovery into pieces. Our efforts to protect jobs would be shattered and Scotland’s economy would descend into chaos.”

Ross said the choice for voters in next week’s election is “crystal clear – referendum or recovery”.

But the SNP has previously said the recovery and Scottish independence are not mutually exclusive, adding that an independent Scotland would have absolute power to dictate the recovery from Covid-19.