Scottish Indy POLL: After expert hits out at ‘economic burden’, does UK need Scotland?

Nicola Sturgeon says the last year has ‘tested her’

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SNP leader Mrs Sturgeon is attempting to frame the May 6 poll as a de facto referendum in itself, and if her party achieves an overall majority, will claim she has a mandate to force UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call a second referendum – or a so-called Indyref2. However, speaking to Express.co.uk, John Longworth, a former Brexit Party MEP and the director-General of the Centre for Brexit Policy think tank said it might not matter much if Scotland did go it alone.

He explained: “I don’t think England and Wales would be at all impacted by Scottish independence to any great degree, in relation to its economic performance.

“Scotland, in essence, is a burden to England and Wales because we cross-subsidise Scottish citizens.

“English taxpayers are paying to maintain public services in Scotland.”

He added: “There is trade between the two nations, obviously, as one would expect to continue particularly because 60 percent of Scottish goods go to the rest of the UK.

“I imagine an independent Scotland would like to maintain that.

“The UK, the Bank of England and UK Treasury, would not have to front the increasing burden of Scottish Government debt.”

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Mr Longworth also claimed Scotland was “effectively being run like a communist country at the moment”.

He said: “This is in relation to the way the public sector operates and the balance of control of the public sector versus the private sector in Scotland.

“They really need to be careful that they don’t end up in a sort of North Korea, South Korea situation.”

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Speaking to Express.co.uk in November, Joe Ray, a regular contributor to the Sceptical Scot website, suggested an independent Scotland would get a rude awakening outside the UK.

Mr Ray urged parties opposed to independence to focus on brass tacks, especially the issue of what currency Scotland would use in such circumstances.

He added: “The SNP wants a campaign based around the future of Scotland, being a positive, progressive, European nation – they want to keep it at a really high level.

“But what the currency issue does, and the prospect of the risk that it will induce for everyone’s personal finances, is it means things like people’s mortgages, people’s mortgage repayments, the weekly grocery shop, the importance of that, and how much that could increase, people’s pensions, people’s savings, debts – all these will become centre-stage.

“That is what this strategy offers. ‘If Scotland leaves the UK and we have a new currency, will that send prices flying?’ Same with utility bills, train fares – all these are very emotive issues.

“It brings the whole campaign down to day-to-day, bread-and-butter political issues.”

Speaking in July, Kevin Hague, chairman of the pro-Union think tank These Islands, accused the SNP of misleading Scots about the economic impact of independence.

Mr Hague said: “There are those people, which would include senior members of the SNP, who absolutely understand that these would be the implications of independence, and are actively trying to mislead the electorate, and they are the ones who I find completely unforgivable.

“Anybody in the SNP finance team knows that independence would lead to levels of austerity that would make the recent austerity look like a walk in the park.

“It’s not ‘head in the sand’ – it’s actively trying to deceive the electorate.

“There is another swathe of people in the country who aren’t invested in understanding the fine detail.”

Mr Hague, using historical data gathered via the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP) and Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS), suggested Scotland had gone from being a net contributor to the UK economy in the 1980s, thanks to the revenue from North Sea oil, to being a net beneficiary to the tune of £2,000 per head every year.

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