Independence: Alexander warns of financial challenge

Danny Alexander MP at the Liberal Democrats Conference lasty year. Picture: Robert Perry
Danny Alexander MP at the Liberal Democrats Conference lasty year. Picture: Robert Perry
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CHIEF Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander has said the challenges facing the finance secretary of an independent Scotland would make his job of turning around the economy after the financial crisis “pale into insignificance”.

In a briefing to journalists, Alexander said he will publish a fiscal analysis paper in April warning of both the short and long-term problems faced by an independent Scotland. It comes as Treasury sources suggest this year’s Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures, due out this week, will show for the first time that the deficit in Scotland is bigger than that for the rest of the UK.

Alexander said he would be looking at the SNP’s spending promises to give voters a more accurate picture. He also hinted that there may be help for whisky revenue in the Budget this month, saying he has “taken particular interest” in representations on duty for Scotland’s national drink.

Alexander said: “Crucially, as I look at the prospects of independence and the maths of the SNP, the challenges faced by somebody having my job in an independent Scotland would make the challenges that I faced in the past three and a half years pale into insignificance in terms of not just the short-term pressures of the debt but the long-term issues of falling oil revenues.”