ONE million jobs in Scotland could be put at risk in the event of Scottish independence, Labour has warned.
Employment in sectors with strong links to the UK, such as defence and financial services, could be jeopardised if Scots vote Yes in September’s referendum, according to the party’s Scottish leader Johann Lamont.
Ms Lamont said that the strength of the union could be harnessed in order to tackle long-term and youth unemployment in Scotland, highlighting the bankers bonus tax proposed by shadow chancellor Ed Balls as a “perfect example”.
The scheme, which would see money from the bonus packages of city bankers reinvested in a compulsory jobs guarantee programme, could help 18,000 Scots back into work, she said.
Speaking during a visit to Helm, a youth employment charity in Dundee, Ms Lamont said: “Tackling long-term and youth unemployment is one of Labour’s key ambitions but a Yes vote will only put at the risk the jobs we already have in Scotland.
“By using the strength of the union, we can not only secure the one million jobs dependent on the UK, such as jobs in the shipyards, the defence industry and financial services, but we can also create more jobs for those who need them the most.
“The bankers bonus tax is a perfect example - harnessing the wealth of London bankers and redistributing it to the areas most in need will allow us to create 18,000 jobs for the long-term unemployed, including 4,000 young people.
“For Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish jobs are a price worth paying for their dreams of independence.
“On September 18th, the people of Scotland face two futures - one where a Yes vote puts at risk some of the million jobs which are dependent on our UK links or one where a No vote would secure these jobs and use policies like the Bankers Bonus Tax to tackle long-term and youth unemployment.”
Research by Professor Brian Ashcroft from Strathclyde University recently suggested that 962,000 jobs in Scotland are linked to its membership of the UK.
They include posts at UK-owned companies, Scottish firms which benefit from UK public-sector contracts and research and development jobs that are financed by UK grants.
A spokesman for Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “We’re delighted the Tory-led No campaign are raising the issue of jobs, because an independent Scotland will mean more and better jobs, and more opportunities for young people here in Scotland rather than having to leave family and friends in search of work elsewhere.
“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but we need the economic powers of independence to make the most of that huge wealth and to create more jobs.”