Swinney letter blasts Osborne for ‘sabotage’ of Scottish economy

George Osborne may have been deliberately attempting to “sabotage” Scotland’s economy with his controversial claims that the independence referendum is scaring away big business, the SNP said yesterday.

Finance secretary John Swinney has written to the Chancellor amid concerns that his intervention last weekend may have been because of pressure he faces from Tory politicians south of the Border about “Scotland’s success”.

But the claims were branded a “ridiculous suggestion” by the Treasury last night.

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The coalition has scrapped the Grant for Business Investment, the English equivalent of regional selective assistance grants, which attract big firms to invest in Scotland.

Amazon, which officially opened its new premises in Dunfermline yesterday, was considering North Tyneside before choosing Fife.

Tory North Tyneside mayor Linda Arkley recently complained that the region was struggling to compete against the “disparity” it faces against Scotland and would continue to lose out. She pledged to lobby the Treasury on the issue.

Mr Swinney writes in his letter to the Chancellor: “I have to put the question as to whether they were motivated by party political concerns expressed in England about Scotland’s success, with a view to sabotaging Scottish investment.”