I am grateful to Douglas Turner (Letters, 26 June) for pointing out that the Treasury was honest enough to concede that a mistake had been made in estimating the set-up costs of an independent Scotland and to produce a revised figure of £1.5 billion.
Interestingly, this revised figure is the same as the figure at the top of the range now produced by Professor Dunleavy (your report, 27 June) in response to a critique by Ian Maclean, Professor of Politics, Oxford University. The critique points out that Professor Dunleavy distinguished between the various costs involved in (initial) set-up, disentangling, transition and investment.
The £200 million figure would be incurred only by the initial set-up and did not include the longer term costs. What the Scottish people are entitled to know is what the costs will be if Scotland becomes independent, which would not be incurred otherwise. And it is clear that these are considerably greater than £200m.
Even Professor Dunleavy’s estimate of £200m for initial set-up costs is queried by Professor Maclean. He notes that Professor Dunleavy “does not give the basis” for his lower estimate for the replacement of UK public bodies functioning in Scotland.
He also points out that the costs of tax collection and benefits distribution had not been factored in to the total costs. Professor Maclean’s own estimate is £1.5 to £2bn.
It is now Mr Salmond’s turn to come clean about the £200m figure which he came up with but which his finance secretary had such difficulties with.
As to John Swinney, who claims that he can’t produce a calculation on the grounds that it would be meaningless – is he incompetent?
Braid Hills Avenue