A Crucial Moment in Scotland's History

Article excerpt

TODAY sees the publication of the Scottish Government's White Paper on independence.

This document will be the SNP's blueprint for the alternative destiny it envisions for Scotland.

It is the proposition on which Scots will vote in the referendum on September 18, 2014, the most significant constitutional decision taken by this country since 1707.

On that verdict depend the security, international status and living standards of Scots for generations to come. It is a make or break moment in history. A crucial factor will be the economic consequences of independence.

Recently the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) drew up possible scenarios for the finances of an independent Scotland, ranging from best-case to pessimistic. Now the Treasury has taken the IFS's most optimistic scenario and translated it into practical consequences for an independent Scotland.

It found the average basic rate taxpayer would face a tax rise of [pounds sterling]1,000 by 2020. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander observed he 'was surprised to hear' that, on the day following the IFS report, the SNP administration proposed cuts to tax rates under independence.

That is classic SNP behaviour. An expert, neutral body demonstrates that, under the most favourable circumstances, massive tax rises would be inevitable under independence - and the SNP airily pledges tax cuts instead. …