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Cross-border organ transplant network ‘at risk’

Gordon Brown raised fears for future of organ transplants. Picture: John Devlin

Gordon Brown raised fears for future of organ transplants. Picture: John Devlin

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: More than 1,200 Scots a year facing life-threatening illnesses are securing transplants or blood transfusions from donors elsewhere in the UK, former prime minister Gordon Brown has said.

Almost 45,000 Scots now get help every year from the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but Mr Brown suggests these links could be put “at risk” after a Yes vote. However, the Scottish Government said there will be no change to the current organ donations set-up which operates in the “best interests” of Scotland and the rest of the UK, after a Yes vote.

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An average of 200 at-risk Scots secure transplants from English or Welsh donors and a further 1,000 benefit from blood transfusions donated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Brown said: “I call on the SNP to tell the truth about the benefits we receive from direct links with England in healthcare.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “NHS Blood and Transplant, which co-ordinates organ donation across the UK, has already confirmed in writing that independence would not lead to any change in these arrangements.”

No campaign says cost of SNP corporation tax cut would pay for 13,000 nurses

ALEX Salmond’s flagship plans to cut corporation tax in an independent Scotland have come under fire, with pro-UK campaigners arguing the cost of such a move would pay the wages of 13,000 nurses.

Better Together claims reducing the levy to 3p lower than the rest of the UK would cost £385 million. The cross-party group said that with the estimated cost of employing a nurse amounting to just over £29,700, that would be enough to pay for 12,950 nurses a year.

The SNP leader has argued that cutting the tax would create 27,000 jobs and help boost GDP by more than 1 per cent over the medium term. However, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said a recent paper from one of the First Minister’s economic advisers, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, revealed the “lack of economic credibility” behind the proposal.

In a paper published in May, Prof Stiglitz argued that “there are some tax-avoiding jurisdictions, such as Ireland, that are competing in a race to the bottom by offering low tax rates, so much so that money kept abroad can almost escape taxation”.

In the research, which was focused on the US, the economics expert said it was a “misunderstanding” that cutting corporation tax would provide firms with an incentive to create jobs.

“It is demand that creates jobs, and it is our current system’s high level of inequality that accordingly is destroying jobs,” he said.

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