SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander will call on the Scottish Government to publish “realistic” forecasts on oil and gas revenues in a keynote speech tomorrow where he will describe the economics of the independence white paper as “fantastical”.
But ahead of the speech, SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney has demanded Mr Alexander comes clean on Scotland’s share of the UK’s assets worth nearly £1.3 trillion.
The speech is understood to be the build up to a series of comprehensive analyses over the next few weeks which the UK government hopes will dismantle some of the claims made in the white paper.
In his speech in Edinburgh, Mr Alexander will swarn that Scotland does not have a right to a one-third share in UK assets.
He will say: “There is the fantastical claim, made in the white paper that an independent Scotland would share a third of the UK’s institutions and services despite the fact that this is completely unprecedented anywhere in the world.
“This is a claim we have to listen to whenever an institution crops up that the nationalists haven’t had time to think about. So it won’t surprise me if next Saturday night Alex Salmond declares that an independent Scotland will share the UK’s automatic place in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest!”
He will add: “It is time for the Scottish Government to confirm what we all know: that the white paper was wrong, to correct the discredited oil and gas bulletin and the errors at the heart of the white paper. The Scottish Government must confront the fact that it is promising tax revenues and public spending that it cannot deliver.”
Mr Alexander will also attack First Minister Alex Salmon for “belligerantly” insisting that Scotland will be able to keep the pound.
He said: “He has to face up to the fact that the rest of the UK does not have to – and would not want to – continue to share the credit card.”
But Mr Swinney said billions of pounds could be paid to an independent Scotland in cash as many of the assets paid for by Scottish tax-payers will be physically located in the rest of the UK.
He said: “Danny Alexander has said the UK Treasury is examining the finances of an independent Scotland.
“To have a shred of credibility any Westminster analysis should also set out in detail the assets that will be due to Scotland in the event of a vote for independence in September.”