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By a Newsnet reporter

Figures published this week reveal that the Westminster Government depends on Scotland to keep the UK's balance of payments deficit under control.  The figures show that the UK's balance of payment deficit could double without Scotland's major contributions to the Sterling Zone.

Mark McDonald, member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, says this demonstrates the value an independent Scotland would have to a monetary union between Scotland and the rest of the UK in a Sterling area.

He added that the figures further undermine the already crumbling credibility of Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander.

In a recent speech to Glasgow Chambers of Commerce, Mr Alexander called into question the ability of an independent Scotland to maintain its financial credibility, claiming that the markets would see an independent Scotland as a greater financial risk than the UK.  

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury also claimed that mortgage interest rates would rise in an independent Scotland, forcing hard-pressed mortgage holders to pay more.

Mr Alexander's comments were challenged by former Chairman of the Scottish Property Federation Dan MacDonald's letter of 28th June to the Herald, pointing out the fallacy in Danny Alexander's mortgage claims:

"Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander warns us that mortgages will rise in an independent Scotland when, in fact, these are principally based on central bank interest rates which would remain the same across a sterling zone after independence." wrote Mr MacDonald. 

In yet another blow to Mr Alexander's claims, the industry association Oil and Gas UK has recently published figures which estimate that North Sea oil and gas production alone boosted the UK's balance of payments by £32 billion in 2010, almost halving the UK's deficit.  The industry also estimate that some 14-24bn barrels of oil remain in the North Sea, with a potential value of up to £1.5 trillion (in real terms).

On Tuesday, Mr Alexander attempted to cast doubt on an independent Scotland's ability to create an oil-fund by claiming that taxes on the industry would increase after independence, discouraging companies from investing.  

However in April 2011, Mr Alexander was reported boasting to a London City audience that the £10 billion tax raid which the UK government imposed on the North Sea, and which the industry said threatened developments and jobs in Scotland, was "... my idea, which I proposed a few months ago."

Mr Alexander later argued that the tax raid was "good for people in the north and north-east".

Mr McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, said:

"Without Scotland's major contributions to the Sterling Zone, including whisky and North Sea oil and gas, the UK's balance of payments deficit would double.

"It makes sense for both Scotland and the UK to maintain a Sterling Zone in an independent Scotland.

"Danny Alexander must be feeling pretty embarrassed to be shown up so soon after his other economically illiterate claims on mortgages, oil taxation and regional pay.

"He has boasted that the Treasury's oil tax grab was his idea – which has threatened thousands of jobs across Scotland and jeopardised major investments in the North Sea oil industry.

"How can the people of Scotland trust a man whose economic credibility is crumbling further and further each day?"

Mr McDonald added:

"Only today the Scottish Index of Manufactured Exports shows that export sales grew by 4.2 per cent in real terms over the year to March.

"This is an incredible figure in such a tough economic climate, demonstrating the SNP Government's hard work through its enterprise agencies in strengthening Scotland's economic links in overseas markets.

"We have a booming food and drink sector, and are seeing significant growth in textiles, transport equipment, chemicals and mechanical engineering.

"“The rest of the UK has as much – if not more – to gain from a monetary union as an independent Scotland would."

Comments  

 
# UpSpake 2012-07-05 07:14
Beaker has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Having been told to get out there and rubbish the Yes campaign he is opening his mouth and letting his belly rumble.
Only fools and the MSM pay any attention to him. However is deploying him as attack dog fails to work, watch out for a whole lot more dangerous stuff from the establishment.
After McCrone, the Westminster mob knew all about Scotland's situation. We have been systematically lied to and cheated from then till now. Alexander is just a symptom of that not the cause.
Westminster will let Scotland go over it's putrid body. The Yes campaign is not gaining the right level of momentum to fend off nonsense such as emminates from Alexander and the rest of that mob.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-07-05 07:45
I would agree with you US, but the biggest fear of any athlete is peaking before the event.

Much dross and outright lies will flow from anti-Independence mouths over the nexts 16 months before they are forced to address the White Paper the Scotish Government will publish. I have every confidence the paper will nail all the lies and nonsense. I'm afraid we will just have to put up with scaremongering from FUD's until that time.

Only then will hearts and minds be concentrated on Independence and clear blue water will be seen between Scotland and rUK.
 
 
# Macart 2012-07-05 07:28
Not my strongest in terms of discussing the economy. In fact it's fair to say that I'm economically illiterate, fiscally faddled and currency market confused. The difference between Danny and I is that I'm fully aware of my shortcomings and work toward learning and understanding.

Word to the wise for the Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Know your limitations.
 
 
# isleofskye 2012-07-05 07:57
Yet another strong argument for independence that shows the unionist position to be disingenuous at best, and perfidious at worst.

The oil, gas and renewables industry is offering employment opportunities for young people, contributing taxes, and giving them the chance to invest in a good life in Scotland.

And Danny Alexander, a Highland MP boasts a £10bn tax raid.

When will MSM wake up to the reality that Scotland is being bled dry by a small and select Westminster/Corporate elite.



Why doesn't MSM report the hypocrisy in all of this?
 
 
# hiorta 2012-07-05 16:51
A £10 Bn tax raid on the too wee,too poor, too stupid - derogatory too's, etc.

Doesn't reflect frightfully well on the oppulent raiders, does it, Old Boy?

On the other hand, perhaps it just reflects the depth of their desperation.
 
 
# border reiver 2012-07-05 08:03
Danny Alexander is totaly incompetent, each time he comes out with this sort of rubbish he always seems to quote misleading figures and lacks credibility. Dont know about attack dog he is more like a lap dog, when Cameron wants him to leave the room he just needs to throw a stick.
 
 
# Leswil 2012-07-05 08:03
Before we get carried away, there a few things that may turn sentiment away from us in any sterling currency union.
These two things could change the dynamics drastically.
1, There could be a huge gas find out from Blackpool, which is getting actively fracked right now. Some experts say this could be big enough to supply the UK for seventy years.
2, The Falklands oil fields, the UK government are fully aware that if it fulfils expectation there could be many billions of barrels.
Both these would work against Scotland and would strengthen the hand of rUK to be as awkward as they like.
So let us be aware.
 
 
# xyz 2012-07-05 10:32
Scotland should claim the gas off Blackpool! .. Or let's just do the right thing and stick to the international law of the sea where Scottish resources belongs to Scotland and rUK resources belongs to rUK.

Talking about the price of oil and the value of our resources. Have we considered this?: manufacturingdigital.com/.../...

Great for renewables but bad for the price of oil in a wonderful new hydrogen future. It may not imminently replace petrol, but you can be sure it will be reported as such in an attempt to talk Scotland down.

What will the world be like when we are not fighting over oil?
 
 
# gopher3 2012-07-05 14:01
Quoting xyz:
Scotland should claim the gas off Blackpool! .. Or let's just do the right thing and stick to the international law of the sea where Scottish resources belongs to Scotland and rUK resources belongs to rUK.

Talking about the price of oil and the value of our resources. Have we considered this?: manufacturingdigital.com/.../...

Great for renewables but bad for the price of oil in a wonderful new hydrogen future. It may not imminently replace petrol, but you can be sure it will be reported as such in an attempt to talk Scotland down.

What will the world be like when we are not fighting over oil?



If the new fuel really works,Wastemons ter will slap 80% tax on it anyway.
 
 
# Angus 2012-07-05 11:17
Quoting Leswil:
Before we get carried away, there a few things that may turn sentiment away from us in any sterling currency union.
These two things could change the dynamics drastically.
1, There could be a huge gas find out from Blackpool, which is getting actively fracked right now. Some experts say this could be big enough to supply the UK for seventy years.
2, The Falklands oil fields, the UK government are fully aware that if it fulfils expectation there could be many billions of barrels.
Both these would work against Scotland and would strengthen the hand of rUK to be as awkward as they like.
So let us be aware.

They have been drilling for gas in the Morecambe bay / Blackpool area for 4 years, and the resources are not as significat as you say. Much of the gas is already depleted. The vast majority of resources are in Scottish waters. Something like 92% of the oil and 72% of the gas.
The Morecambe bay area is puny compared to the North and central north sea.
 
 
# Leswil 2012-07-05 13:33
Angus,
I am only quoting from reports I have read.You are right though in that the same report said that there is the same resource in the north of England and across the Scottish border. The S/G are aware of this but would not move on it until the fracking problems are better known, and quite right.
Also this said, that what is in the North Sea may dwarf them all.
So I am not saying we will be greatly effected. What I was trying to get across is that if rUK have these resources they will be less "helpful" to us.
What I personally think is that ,so what!
We will have 5 Million+ people to satisfy in terms of wealth growth.
rUK, has 60 Million. So for them it may mean a small improvement ( if that!) in standards of living, for us it could be a quantum leap!
 
 
# Old Smokey 2012-07-05 08:05
Slightly O/T (I did try and find an article on it, but couldnt , so forgive me) Listened to GMS this morning on the announced cuts to the army. Listening to Brian Taylor, it was more about how guilty we should all be that its only English regiments that are being cut.
The way Taylor went on was a disgrace, harping on that the Scottish regiments are not recruiting much in comparison to Yorkshire and there is disquite with English MP's. It was an oblique go at trying to get us to feel guilty as we are all in it together shpeel
 
 
# Macart 2012-07-05 08:19
Brian's a bit behind bless. Considering the amalgamations, base closures and underspend already underway in Scotland there's not much else they can do. Well they could strip us right down to a night watchman, a small coastal tug and a microlight. That's all we'll need to ensure security around Faslane and Coulport. :)
 
 
# Seagetagrip 2012-07-05 08:06
It would appear, to my puny financial brain, that the sooner we depart from Sterling the better after Independence
 
 
# wee folding bike 2012-07-05 08:13
They tried the same guilt thing with the Olympic football, we should really get along there and buy tickets…

London 2012 banners all round Mt Florida yesterday.
 
 
# Roll_On_2011 2012-07-05 10:03
With Britain as a whole staggering under a near-£100billion deficit in the trade of goods last year, some of our harder-pressed regions either held their own or ran a surplus.

Export…Import..Region (in £billion)
£14.0….£10.0…North East
£14.0….£8.0…..Wales
£17.0….£12.0…Scotland

Northern Ireland was in balance, as were the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside. By contrast, the country’s economic powerhouses were deep in the red.

£80.0….£42.8…South East
£35.3….£69.0…London
£27.0….£48.0…East Anglia
£12.4….£16.0…South West
£29.0….£20.0…West Midlands

However, regions such as London partly balance the deficit with a surplus on trade in services, such as banking.

Theses figures were compiled by Revenue & Customs and cover the first quarter of this year.

A graph is also available from their site:

uktradeinfo.com/.../...

The graph above shows the total value of the UK’s import and export trade in goods for the annual period ending March 2012. In the year ending March 2012, there was a rise in annual export value in all UK countries and regions apart from the South East. There was a rise in annual import value during the year in all UK countries and regions apart from the East of England. Wales had the highest annual growth rate of the UK countries for imports and Scotland had the highest growth rate for exports.
 
 
# bigbuachaille 2012-07-05 10:25
Sorry to go off topic. The Order of the Thistle is in the news today. Recently there was a stooshie about the Scottish universities constituting an obstacle to social mobility. Here is some background regarding the members of the Order.
1. The Earl of Elgin Eton & Oxford
2. The Earl of Airlie Eton & Scots Guards
3. The Viscount of Arbuthnott Fettes and Cambridge
4. The Earl of Crawford and Balcarres Eton and Cambridge
5. Lady Marion Fraser Hutcheson Grammar, Glasgow and RSAMD
6. The Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden High School of Glasgow & Royal Artillery
7. The Lord Mackay of Clashfern Heriots, Edinburgh & Cambridge
8. The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn Trinity College, Glenalmond and Oxford
9. The Lord Sutherland of Houndwood Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen & Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
10. Sir Eric Anderson George Watson's College, St. Andrews & Oxford
11. The Lord Steel of Aikwood George Watson's College & Edinburgh
12. The Lord Robertson of Port Ellen Dunoon Grammar School & Dundee
13. The Lord Cullen of Whitekirk High School of Dundee,St Andrews & Edinburgh
14. Sir Garth Morrison Pangbourne College,Britann ia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth & Pembroke College, Cambridge
15. The Lord Hope of Craighead Edinburgh Academy and Rugby School, Cambridge & Edinburgh
16. The Lord Patel St. Andrews (born Tanzania)

14 of the 16 attended a fee-paying school.
2 of the 16 did not go to University
9 of the 16 went to either Oxford or Cambridge
4 of the 16 were educated entirely in Scotland
Draw your own conclusions.
 
 
# Tom60 2012-07-05 16:05
It looks like the modern equivalent of being anglicised at court.
 
 
# tilly 2012-07-05 10:51
OT:Referendum funds warning.

The Electoral Commission told the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee the Yes and No campaigns will be able to accept foreign donations to promote their cause.

Does this mean that if and when Cameron gets round to his EU referendum, the same rules apply to this referendum?

tinyurl.com/cehzhfy
 
 
# Jimbo 2012-07-05 11:42
I'm sure (but may be wrong), Tilly, that the Yes campaign have already stated they will only take donations from people on the Scottish electoral register.

Perhaps in view of this decision by the Electoral Commission they should reconsider their policy as the Unionist Alliance won't be too fussy where their funding comes from.

I note a comment from a Peter Wallace, London, below the article in your link in which he quotes Ian Davidson:

"If the KGB wanted an independent Scotland out of Nato, they could give the Yes campaign a ton of cash and it wouldn't have to be declared !"

Davidson casting aspersions and putting it into people's minds that the old and feared enemy of the West could be donating to the Yes campaign.

heraldscotland.com/.../...
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-07-05 11:55
I thought all this financing business was done and dusted in the last seven days.
The Yes Scotland saying it would only accept donations from within Scotland up to an individual limit of £750.
The No Campaign (BetterTogether ) stating they would accept donations from UK wide.
Does that mean the Electoral Commission has thrown our (The Yes and NOs) well laid financing plans out the window?
 
 
# cadgers 2012-07-05 12:37
Quoting Leswil:
Before we get carried away, there a few things that may turn sentiment away from us in any sterling currency union.
These two things could change the dynamics drastically.
1, There could be a huge gas find out from Blackpool, which is getting actively fracked right now. Some experts say this could be big enough to supply the UK for seventy years.
2, The Falklands oil fields, the UK government are fully aware that if it fulfils expectation there could be many billions of barrels.
Both these would work against Scotland and would strengthen the hand of rUK to be as awkward as they like.
So let us be aware.

Let's be our generous Scots selves, if there is gas found off Blackpool they are welcome to it along with a polluted water table and earthquakes!

As for the Falklands: 20,000 uk troops being thrown away now and Argentina just waiting to step in and claim any oil find, does Westminster think everyone is zipped up the back like themselves?
 
 
# hiorta 2012-07-05 14:36
The death throes of yet another empire are a thing of awe - and a warning to others of similar ambition.
 
 
# Corm 2012-07-05 18:05
Quoting hiorta:
The death throes of yet another empire are a thing of awe - and a warning to others of similar ambition.


Totally, Westminster should have read up on their history just after WW2 and ended it all there and then. I dont know why so few people fail to aknowledge it even now when the end is in sight.
 
 
# ace182 2012-07-05 18:44
So when it comes right down to it the, " Better Together " argument of the unionists really means it is better for England.
 
 
# Clydebuilt 2012-07-06 21:41
Would have given the article a 10 /10 if a reference to the "Figures published this week" had been included.

because of this omission I didn't circulate to contacts.
 

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