Referendum 'will turn on economy'

THE independence debate will turn on where voters believe their best economic prospects lie, Finance Secretary John Swinney has said.

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He said people will not be swayed by "crude" numbers, such as the UK Treasury's analysis, that Scots will be £1400 better off each year by remaining in the union.

Mr Swinney was speaking at a conference on Scotland's future in Edinburgh and answering questions from members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Mr Swinney said: "The type of programme that we have set out is designed to expand the Scottish economy. That is fundamental to the realisation of our aspirations.

"I think the debate will turn on where people see their best economic prospects lying.

"It is not crudely about 'do I believe this paper which says I will be £1400 better off, or this paper that says I will be £1000 better off'. It is about looking at all the information and saying where do I think my country is going to perform and achieve the best."

Mr Swinney faced questions on issues from an independent Scotland's fiscal position as part of a formal monetary union with the rest of the UK to his views on abuse of public figures on social media.

Asked about the degree of economic independence Scotland would have if it did negotiate a currency union following a Yes vote, Mr Swinney referred to remarks made by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who said there would be some giving up of fiscal sovereignty to be part of a sterling zone.

"That to me is a reasonable point," Mr Swinney said.

"It was looked at by the Fiscal Commission. They said there would have to be some kind of agreement about levels of debt that a Scottish Government could tolerate, levels of borrowing that we could incur."


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