The SNP’s long-awaited Growth Commission report contains 354 pages of detailed arguments on how an independent Scotland could boost its economy. In case you don’t have time to read it all, here are five key points you need to know.
CURRENCY: The report suggests that an independent Scotland retain the pound for a “possibly extended transition period” in the aftermath of a Yes vote in any IndyRef2. It adds that arrangements should be put in place to support the possibility that a future Scottish Government will decide to launch a separate Scottish currency. The report suggests that a new currency should only be launched if six stringent tests have been met - stable public finances, a central bank, certainty for businesses and stable foreign exchange rates.
BANKING: The report accepts “a number of banks may redomicile their registered headquarters to London” in the event of Scottish independence, but adds that a substantial part of their executive functions are already based south of the Border. It recommends establishing two institutions, a Scottish Central Bank and a Scottish Financial Authority. The report admits Scotland would not be in a formal monetary union with the rest of the UK and acknowledged that such an approach would mean the Scottish Government would not have control over interest rates.
IMMIGRATION: A new “Come to Scotland” package would be offered to potential migrants. This would include tax incentives to reduce the cost of moving to the country, as well as to graduates of Scottish universities. The investment threshold for start-ups would be reduced, and a new “easy to use” visa system would be created.
TAX: As oil and gas revenues dwindle, the report assumes North Sea tax “revenues at zero” in future for the purposes of frontline spending. Instead any receipts from the North Sea industry will go towards a new “Fund for Future Generations.”
DEBTS: An independent Scotland would continue to pay the UK a “solidarity payment” of about £5 billion a year after a Yes vote, according to the recommendations of the SNP’s Growth Commission.