As it happened: Scotsman Conference on the economics of independence
Politics editor Eddie Barnes reports from The Scotsman’s conference on the economics of independence at our office in Edinburgh, which hears from finance secretary John Swinney and former Chancellor Alistair Darling.
12.10pm: Some perspective from David Watt, of the institute of directors, who says most firms aren’t switched on to the constitution. Scotland, independent or not, will have the same problems and opportunities as before. He repeats the staggering statistic that Scotland’s exports are just a fifth of Ireland’s ... both countries are the same size.
11.54am: Kemp warns that relying on oil is “dangerous” given the volatilty of its price. He says Norway went for an oil fund after its own reliance was exposed when the price crashed in the mid 90s.
11.49am: Alex Kemp says Scotland should get around 5 to 10 billion a year from oil over the next decade. But he warns it all depends on the oil price. There are around 20 billion barrels left, 40 billion gone already.
11.24am: Asked about the use of North Sea oil, Darling declares: “Had successive UK governments put it into a fund we might have been in a different situation. But that doesn’t help us on the position we are in ... we can’t turn the clock back 40 years.”
11.14am: Darling on the UK government’s reaction if Scotland used the pound: “It would be inconceivable that they wouldn’t want to ask people about it.” As regards a referendum, he says that would be up to them - Scotland would by then be a bystander.
11.07am: The Scotsman conference on the economics of independence has yielded some good lines already.
Professor John Kay, of LSE and Oxford university, has warned Scotland wouldn’t be able to have an Irish style cut price Corporation tax rate. He has also warned of the financial handcuffs that would come with using the pound.
That point was repeated by Alistair Darling who believes it “inconceivable” that the rest of the Uk wouldn’t want a say on whether to allow Scotland to carry on using the pound.
John Swinney preferred to dwell on the past failure of UK governments to respond to Scottish circumstances.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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