Independent Scotland to ‘face limits’

Orkney and Shetland want to benefit more fully from the oil wealth in their waters. Picture: Jane Barlow

Orkney and Shetland want to benefit more fully from the oil wealth in their waters. Picture: Jane Barlow

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ONE of the country’s most experienced government economists today enters the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future, warning of the likely constraints the country could face under independence.

Professor Andrew Goudie, former chief economist at the Scottish Government, writes in today’s Scotsman that economic and political self-determination are “constrained concepts” in the modern world.

Assessing the SNP’s preferred model of a “sterling zone” after independence, he says there would be a “two-way street” as both Scotland and the UK sought to get safeguards that the other would not tip the zone into instability.

The UK government would be “likely to seek an agreement that seeks limitations” on Scotland. It would, he adds, be “powerfully positioned” to secure conditions.

And while the UK would not demand that Scotland had the exact same tax regime, he argues it is “improbable that ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ tax competition would be accepted on any substantive scale”.

The contribution comes ahead of a new book assessing the options facing voters in the independence referendum.

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