Nicola Sturgeon blasted for endless quest for independence
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Nearly eight years on from the first failed Scottish independence campaign, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold another referendum on the issue before the end of 2023. The SNP leader has long expressed her wish for Scotland to rejoin the European Union and has even suggested the country could adopt the Euro as its currency as an independent nation. This has largely been driven in part by Brexit, which Scotland voted against by a huge margin of 62 percent to 38 percent during the EU referendum in 2016.
The likes of Ms Sturgeon and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford have raged Brexit has happened “against the will of the Scottish people”.
But while the UK is having to pay the EU up to £40billion over several years as part of a divorce settlement, Scotland could be left footing a bill that could plunge it into a huge financial crisis.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, warned Scotland could be left owing the UK a staggering £380billion on total liabilities.
This he argued would leave Scotland near where Greece – which plunged deep into a financial crisis in 2009 – is in terms of its national debt.
The political expert told Express.co.uk: “If Scotland left the union there would definitely have to be a settlement deal to separate the two nations decisively.
“Scotland has a significant share of UK national debt, and there are several major UK assets in Scottish territory like North-Sea oil/gas, military bases, and Crown territory.
“At a minimum there would have to be a negotiation on ownership of property and payments in either direction to unbind these areas.
“Key elements would also be trade and currency.
“The SNP has previously suggested the share of national debt would be calculated on a per capita basis, which would mean Scotland would owe the UK c.£205billion on core national debt, and potentially c.£380billion on total liabilities.
“That would place Scottish debt to the UK at either 137 percent of GDP or 251 percent of GDP, which would leave Scotland roughly where Greece is in terms of national debt as a starting point.”
Mr Harris-Quinney added while the costs of all the elements involved following independence are difficult to predict with total accuracy due to the variables being “too great”, the costs to the Scottish economy would likely be “very high”.
He warned following any successful independence referendum, Scotland would likely end up poorer than countries such as Romania and the Czech Republic.
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The political expert added: “The costs of Scotland having its own currency, splitting assets, and having a trade border with the UK is impossible to predict with any specific accuracy because the variables are too great.
“It is likely however that the costs of these shifts to the Scottish economy will be very high. Scotland separated from the UK is a relatively poor country based on its economic performance.”
“Twenty percent of Scottish citizens are considered to be living in poverty, and its total national economy of £150billion is worth less than a quarter of London’s economy.
“As an individual nation it would likely be poorer than countries like Romania or the Czech Republic.”
Mr Harris-Quinney further warned: “As with Brexit however, culture and identity, rather than economics, are driving factors.
“Unless it employs a truly radical economic strategy, Scotland will be significantly poorer if it leaves the UK, and it doesn’t have the pulling power of the UK to set a new dynamic course in the world.
“It is perfectly possible that the Scottish people would happily choose to be poorer in order to be independent, and it would be very foolish of pro-union campaigners to make the mistake of Remainers and only focus on economics.”
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