Independence: Tax Freedom Day ‘two weeks later’

WORKERS in an independent Scotland would pay more tax than they do as part of the UK, the Treasury is set to claim.

Danny Alexander will launch the Treasury report today. Picture: Andrew Cowan

The Treasury will today say that in an independent Scotland people would have to work for an additional two weeks of the year before they stop paying tax on their incomes.

“Tax Freedom Day” is when the average UK resident stops paying tax to the Treasury and starts working for themselves – this year it falls today.

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Chief Treasury minister Danny Alexander claims that in an independent Scotland people would have to work the equivalent of two extra weeks before reaching Tax Freedom Day.

The UK government analysis being launched by Mr Alexander in Edinburgh today has based the claim on tax rises it said would be needed to cover a “hole in the public finances” of an independent Scotland.

Treasury officials say independent research has shown that Scotland’s deficit would be £1,000 per head higher than for the UK as a whole by 2016 – the year the SNP has set for leaving the UK.

Mr Alexander said: “As Scotland’s deficit would be £1,000 per head higher than the UK average in 2016-17, taxpayers in an independent Scotland could face working even longer before reaching tax freedom.

“The Treasury will publish the most comprehensive analysis of the fiscal position of Scotland yet produced, which will set out the scale of the UK dividend for Scotland.”

The Treasury report also claims that an independent Scotland would need 180 new government departments to set up a new state after a Yes vote.

However, Professor Patrick Dunleavy of the London School of Economics said the Treasury report “badly misrepresents” the research by the institution.

That report was published as Alex Salmond delivered a speech in Rutherglen yesterday, where he said Scotland would become independent “in more promising circumstances than virtually any nation in history”.

The SNP government’s own analysis on Scotland’s public finances and the “opportunities of independence” will be launched by the First Minister and finance secretary John Swinney today.

Mr Swinney said: “Scotland will start life as an independent nation with access to our own wealth and a key stake in the £1.3 trillion of assets built up by the UK and funded by Scottish taxpayers … Scotland is entitled to a fair share.”