Scottish independence ‘burden will fall on poor’

Dr Posen warns that independence would create a more unstable economy. Picture: TSPL

Dr Posen warns that independence would create a more unstable economy. Picture: TSPL

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ONE of the world’s leading economists has warned that the poor will suffer the most if voters back independence on Thursday because an independent Scotland will lack creditworthiness on the international markets.

American Adam Posen, who is a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee and is a Congressional advisor, has challenged the core Yes campaign claim that an independent Scotland, free of Conservative policies, would be more compassionate and progressive.

In an analysis for The Scotsman, Dr Posen, now president of the influential Peterson Institute for International Economics, warns that independence “would plunge the people of Scotland into a more unstable economy, unavoidably and permanently”.

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He writes: “Whatever goals of greater social compassion motivate some Scots to consider voting Yes, they would be frustrated by the very real insecurity that would be felt by every citizen, especially the poorest, as a result of secession.”

He warns: “The burden of economic insecurity will fall most heavily on the less-skilled and less-wealthy who are always most vulnerable to swings in unemployment.

“All social welfare programs will be at risk, contrary to the stated intent of the Yes campaign, because those programs get cut when external budget discipline is imposed, whether by European neighbours, the International Monetary Fund, or international banks.”

But his analysis was dismissed by the Yes campaign which argued that Scotland would be one of the richest countries in the world.

A spokesman for Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “It is no coincidence that some of the highest ranked countries in the UN’s human development index are smaller Northern European nations.

“Only a Yes vote on Thursday will give Scotland the opportunity to emulate that success and to build a more prosperous country and fairer society.”

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