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Independence: Spending ‘could support 30,000 jobs’

The Scottish Government claim public sector investment after a Yes vote could support 30,000 jobs. Picture: TSPL

The Scottish Government claim public sector investment after a Yes vote could support 30,000 jobs. Picture: TSPL

CURRENT plans to invest in public spending in an independent Scotland are equal to supporting up to 30,000 jobs, according to economic analysis cited by the Scottish Government.

Ministers have set out proposals to provide £1.2 billion of additional resources in 2017-18 and a further £2.4 billion in 2018-19.

Described as a “credible alternative to Westminster’s austerity plan”, it would support the economy while ensuring that Scotland’s deficit continued to fall as a share of GDP, the Government said.

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New analysis shows that the economic impact of such an increase in public spending could boost output by £1.5 billion and support up to 30,000 jobs.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “Independence will give us the ability to choose spending and tax policies that best match the needs of Scotland.

“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world - and we can use that wealth to help grow the economy further by investing in public services and Scotland’s infrastructure.

“With independence we could, within an overall commitment to fiscal responsibility, say no to cuts and provide a credible and sustainable alternative to the current UK Government’s austerity plan.

“By providing up to £2.4 billion in additional investment we could boost our economy to levels equivalent to supporting up to 30,000 jobs whilst still ensuring that public sector debt was falling as a share of our national income.

“We have a clear choice - stick with Westminster’s planned cuts, or invest in Scotland’s public services to support economic growth, create jobs and tackle inequality.

“Having the ability to manage our economy and public finances in the best interests of Scotland is one of the key benefits independence can bring.”

But Labour MP Ian Murray said: “These are yet more reckless empty promises from the nationalists. John Swinney wants to pile more and more debt onto the shoulders of Scottish families just so that he can achieve his dream of independence.

“No price is too high for the nationalists, so long as they get what they have campaigned for all their lives.”

Mr Murray, speaking on behalf of the pro-UK Better Together campaign, added: “We know from all the experts that borrowing would be more expensive in a separate Scotland. That would impact on government borrowing, but also the cost of everyday things for Scots - like mortgage repayments, credit card bills and car loans. Why take that risk?

“The impartial experts have made the facts very clear - if we leave the UK there would need to be massive spending cuts in Scotland over and above anything taking place at the moment. Alex Salmond would need to cut £6 billion in spending for things like schools and hospitals in the first few years alone.”

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