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SNP claim independence boosts food & drink exports

Scottish food and drink exports could rise after a Yes vote. Picture: PA

Scottish food and drink exports could rise after a Yes vote. Picture: PA

  • by TOM PETERKIN
 

AN independent Scotland could enjoy a 50 per cent boost to its food and drink exports, claims the Scottish Government.

According to the SNP, a Yes vote would see the creation of up to 90 overseas offices, improve the country’s international profile, double its exports and create as many as 100,000 new jobs in the long run.

The ideas, outlined in the Scottish Government strategy, Reindustrialising Scotland for the 21st Century, emerged as this year’s Royal Highland Show was underway.

Speaking at the Highland Show, Nationalist MSP Rob Gibson, convener of the rural affairs, climate change and environment committee, said: “Scotland’s food and drink sector has performed well with the limited powers of devolution – but it can do even better with independence.

“The food and drink industry’s target set in 2008, to increase exports by £5.4 billion by 2017 was met six years early – this highlights the international demand and potential that exists within this sector.

“With independence and the implementation of the industrialisation strategy this potential can be released – we have the ingredients for a winning combination.

“If Scotland was already an independent country, our farmers would have been entitled to a £1bn bonus.

“That money would have made a huge difference to Scotland’s rural communities and is a clear example of why Scotland needs to be able to speak with our own voice in Europe.”

A Better Together spokesperson said: “This is embarrassing guff. We are now to believe that simply by voting Yes, people around the world would suddenly start buying more of our goods. This is further evidence that the Nationalists are prepared to say or do anything, no matter how preposterous, to try get us to vote to leave the UK.”

The claims emerged as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, waded into the row about the set-up costs of an independent Scotland claiming it is “implausible” that the Scottish Government has done no work on it.

Alexander attacked the Scottish Government for failing to come up with a figure for the cost of establishing the apparatus for a new state.

He said: “It is totally implausible that the Scottish Government have done no work on the cost of setting up a new state.”

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