With less than 10 weeks until the referendum on September 18th, Chancellor George Osborne is challenging Alex Salmond to drop the rhetoric and clearly outline his economic plans for a sustainable Scotland.
This challenge comes amid accusations that Salmond is in denial about the key issues of declining oil and gas revenues (which have been shown to be overinflated by the SNP), a proposed new currency, and dealing with the deficit.
Osborne claims, “Salmond’s passion for independence has blinded him to the risks and our economic security hangs on the answers. The Scottish government still can’t answer basic economic questions about their plan for a separate Scotland. These are questions that shape all our lives – they dictate our mortgage rates and tax bills; the quality of our schools and hospitals; the safety of our jobs and opportunities for our children.”
Osborne highlights that Salmond’s economic plans-on-the-back-of-a-napkin rely on, “a source of revenue that is volatile and declining,” as confirmed last week by the neutral Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to downgrade its long-term North Sea oil tax projections by an astonishing £21 billion.
The burden of declining oil and gas revenues is currently shared amongst Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but a Yes vote would mean higher taxes and spending cuts for Scots. Combined with the forecast by the Institute for Fiscal Studies
With the backing of Labour, the LibDems and the Conservatives, Osborne has also categorically ruled out sharing the pound because he claims it simply wouldn’t work. And yesterday, the new EU president, Jean-Claude Juncker, vowed that there would be no expansion to the EU for the next five years, blocking Scotland from using the Euro.
In levelling his final blow, Osborne says, “Salmond can’t tell people how public services will be funded, how Scotland will pay its way in the world, or even what currency people will be paid in. In his passion for independence, he is blinded to the risks to Scotland.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Research Society, a group opposed to independence, says:
“It’s absolutely increduluous that this close to the referendum, Salmond and the SNP have not devised clear, sound economic plans, based on fact, rather than fiction. We can’t gamble over oil, we can’t gamble over currency and we certainly can’t gamble over how to deal with the deficit. It’s time that Salmond stopped looking through rose-tinted glasses and deal truthfully with dependable figures and analysis. Intelligent voters want intelligent answers based on the truth.”