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The Fantasy Economics behind the case for Scottish independence

scottish yes
Written by David Blake

Last week Professor Blake summarised the economic cost to Scotland of becoming independent. In this article he lays out the case against independence in more detail including the serious difficulties Scotland will face in attempting to rejoin the EU.

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The Act of Union signed on 16 January 1707 states that ‘the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall, upon the first Day of May next ensuing the Date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great-Britain’.[1] That was more than 300 years ago and predates most modern-day countries, such as Germany, Italy and the United States of America.

Yet the Scottish National Party wants to tear up this treaty and turn Scotland into an ‘independent’ republic which then loses its ‘independence’ by being absorbed into the European Union.

Electoral Demographics

The SNP lost the Independence Referendum on 18 September 2014. A total of 1,617,989 people voted ‘Yes’. This was 44.7% of those who voted, but just 37.8% of the registered electorate. The ‘No’ vote was 2,001,926.[2] In the UK General Election on 12 December 2019, the SNP received 1,242,380 votes. That is 45% of those who voted in Scotland, but only 30.7% of the total Scottish electorate and only 2.6% of the total UK electorate of 47,568,611. A total of 1,496,316 people voted for the other parties: Conservative, Labour, LibDems and Scottish Greens.[3]

The SNP wants to have another independence referendum, Indyref2, if it wins the Scottish Parliament election on 6 May. The SNP claims that there will be both economic and other benefits from independence.  Let’s look at these claims.

The current benefits to Scotland from being part of the UK are big and real

We will begin with some simple facts. The population of Scotland in 2019 was 5.46m which is 8.2% of the UK population of 66.8m.[4] Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 was £168.14bn which is 7.8% of UK GDP of £2,172.51bn.[5]

The devolved governments of the UK are funded principally via an annual block grant from the UK government. Since 1979, these grants are determined using the Barnett formula.[6] As the Institute for Government states, ‘the UK is a redistributive union of four nations. …The UK’s approach to public finances is geographically redistributive. Most tax revenue is pooled centrally, with funding allocations for each nation or region not generally based on where revenue was raised. This results in redistribution from England to the devolved nations’.[7]

The devolved nations also benefit from other pooling arrangements, such as: the UK government’s £46bn rescue of the Royal Bank of Scotland during the 2007-2009 global financial crisis of 2007-2009; coronavirus pandemic support measures, such as the £10.6bn going to Scottish public services and the furlough scheme covering 930,000 Scottish workers, self-employment grants, loan schemes and VAT cuts;[8] and the UK-wide Covid-19 vaccine development and procurement programme – in particular, the AstraZeneca vaccine developed at Oxford University.[9]

In 2019-20, public spending per person in the UK was £9,895. In England, it was £9,604 (3% below the UK average), in Scotland £11,566 (17% above the UK average), in Wales £10,929 (10% above the UK average), and in Northern Ireland £11,987 (21% above the UK average).[10]  So Scottish public spending is 20% higher per person than that of England as a result of the Barnett formula.

Total public spending in Scotland was £81bn in 2019-20,[11] while tax revenues amounted to £66 bn,[12] implying a budget deficit of £15bn which equals 18.5% of public spending and 8.9% of Scottish GDP. Scottish North Sea oil and gas tax revenues have fallen from £10.6bn since 2008-09 to £1bn in 2019-20 (0.6% of Scottish GDP or £183 per person).[13] Scotland therefore accounted for 9.2% of UK public spending, around 8% of UK revenues and 8.2% of UK population in 2019-20.[14]

In terms of trade, 60% of Scotland’s exports and 67% of its imports are to and from the rest of the UK (RUK).[15] In 2018, Scotland exported £51.2bn to the UK (60%), £17.7bn to the rest of the world (21%) and only £16.1bn to the EU (19%).[16] Scotland is highly dependent on international trade, at around 58% of GDP. This is above the EU average of 45% and well above the 35% for the UK as a whole.[17]  Scotland is particularly dependent on trade with the RUK, and currently benefits from being in the UK Single Market and Customs Union ‒ hence facing neither tariff nor non-tariff barriers ‒ and sharing the UK common currency, sterling.

Yet, despite these clear economic benefits of being in the UK, the SNP wants to do two things.  The first is for Scotland to become independent from the UK. The second is to apply to join the European Union.

The economic costs of Scottish independence are high

The Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics has recently released a study estimating the costs of Scottish independence.[18] The study assumes that independence would increase trade costs between Scotland and the RUK by 15% in a low border-cost scenario and by 30% in a high border-cost scenario.[19] Using a gravity trade model,[20] Scotland’s long-run real income per capita will fall by between 4.5% (in the low border-cost scenario) and 6.7% (in the high border-cost scenario) or by between £1,385 and £2,155 per person.[21]  This means that the Scottish economy could shrink by £11bn a year if the country breaks away from the UK.

The SNP immediately rejected the size of the loss predicted by the LSE.  The Economy Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said the study had not considered other effects of independence, such as changes in fiscal arrangements, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows or Scotland’s currency.[22]

The loss estimated by the LSE is only the border-cost loss. We also need to take into account the loss of Barnett formula fiscal transfers, as well as the loss of UK government procurement contracts, such as the 18 Royal Navy vessels that have been or will be built in Scotland between 2014 and the 2030s.[23]

The gross loss of Barnett benefits for 2021-22 would be £38bn.[24] The net loss from removing the fiscal transfers would be lower at around £15bn, since Scotland would now retain the tax revenue it collects.  This is calculated as the difference between £81bn in public spending and £66bn in taxes collected in Scotland, including those on North Sea oil revenues.[25]

This adds up to (at least) a £26bn total reduction in Scottish GDP which is equivalent to 15% of Scotland’s 2019 GDP of £168.14bn.[26] (You should really add to this the £0.86bn (0.5% of GDP) net membership fee that Scotland will pay if it joins the EU).

The UK economy has just experienced a 10% reduction in GDP due to the covid pandemic. This is the largest fall in 300 years. The UK economy will eventually bounce back from this.  Scottish independence means a permanent reduction in GDP of 15%, which is 50% greater than the cost of covid.

Ms Hyslop did not spell out how ‘fiscal arrangements’, FDI or a Scottish currency could compensate for a 15% reduction in Scottish GDP. The reality, of course, is that the Scottish economy will never recover from this.

Further, Scotland has very generous social benefits, such as free prescriptions, travel and university tuition fees. The Scottish Government has also just offered a 4% pay rise to 154,000 NHS Scotland staff, well above the 1% offered by Westminster to NHS staff in England.[27] All this helps to explain the huge 8.9% budget deficit.

The £15bn annual budget deficit needs to be filled in some way.  There are only three ways of doing this: cutting government spending, borrowing or raising taxes ‒ unless, of course, there is a magic money tree that the SNP has hidden away.

It has been estimated that to continue the current level of government spending after independence, the basic rate of income tax in Scotland would have to increase from 20% to 46% or the standard VAT rate would have to increase from 20% to 49%.[28] Raising taxes is the last thing you would do if you wanted to encourage FDI. If corporation tax is raised to a higher level than the RUK, companies will move their businesses south of the border. If the government tried to borrow to fund the deficit, this would break the Golden Rule of fiscal policy which states that ‘over the economic cycle, the government will borrow only to invest and not to fund current spending’.[29] Lenders would demand higher interest rates as a result. Private companies borrowing to invest would also have to pay higher interest rates as a consequence. This will not be good for FDI either.

Further, if Scotland introduced its own currency, this is very likely to fall in value relative to sterling – remember sterling fell by 15% after the 2016 Brexit Referendum. This might help with exports since they would be cheaper, but imports would be more expensive and this would increase inflation.  Liabilities denominated in sterling would immediately increase when measured in the new currency.  The currencies of small countries also tend to be more volatile than those of larger countries.  This is going to be bad for both trade and FDI.

It is also going to be especially bad for mortgages denominated in sterling. Most Scottish residents (around 800, 000 of them) will have sterling mortgages at the point that Scotland switches to its new currency. The value of these mortgages would increase if the new currency falls in value; and the mortgage interest payments will no longer be fixed, but will rise and fall as the new currency’s value fluctuates.  This is widely accepted by mortgage brokers: ‘Foreign currency mortgages are not for the faint hearted. You will probably be exposed to foreign currency loans if you buy a home overseas, which for all sorts of reasons has increased risks compared to those associated with living in the UK and owning properties here’.[30] Yet Andrew Wilson, who headed the SNP’s Growth Commission, has dismissed the idea that Scots will face problems with their mortgages after leaving the UK as ‘absurd’.[31] It would become marginally easier if Scotland adopted the euro, since this will fluctuate less against sterling, but only 18% of Scots want to adopt the euro.[32]

What is indeed absurd is the belief that changes in ‘fiscal arrangements’, FDI or Scotland’s currency are going to compensate for the £26bn annual cost to Scotland of Scexit. And this is before you consider the cost of replacing the 400 governmental organisations that currently run the UK and the trade and diplomatic agreements that the UK has with over 150 countries. It was Ruth Davidson, Conservative Party leader at Holyrood, who first warned of the SNP’s ‘fantasy economics’ with its promise of a ‘cost-free all-expenses-paid option which would somehow sweep the natural laws of economics aside’.[33]

Problems with the SNP’s plan to join the EU

Following independence, the SNP wants to join the EU – as a way of increasing its influence on the world stage, in addition to increasing its economic growth. This has a number of problems.

A key initial one would be applying to join the EU and how long this would take.  First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, believes the EU will welcome Scotland immediately ‘with open arms’. Further, Scotland ‘would not have any issues joining the EU as an independent nation. If you look at the 27 member states of the EU, about a dozen of them are countries similar in size to, or smaller than Scotland, so it’s perfectly normal to be a small independent country’.[34]

There would be issues, of course.

First, all existing member states have to agree unanimously to a new country joining.  It is questionable whether all member states, and in particular Spain, would really welcome Scotland with ‘with open arms’, especially when Scotland and the SNP have shown such strong public support for Catalan independence, even to the extent of designing a Scottish-Catalan Union flag in the style of the Kingdom of Sicily.  That will definitely go down well in Madrid. LOL.

Second, the EU has strict entry criteria – the so called Maastricht criteria[35] ‒ one being a budget deficit of below 3% of GDP and another being national debt below 60% of GDP.[36] Scotland’s budget deficit of 8.9% of GDP is estimated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies to rise to 11% of GDP in 2024-2025 as a result of the pandemic.[37] The UK’s national debt to GDP ratio, currently at 100.2%, is set to increase to 110% by 2024.[38] Scotland’s share of UK net liabilities is estimated to be around £300bn, or 200% of its current GDP.[39]

This is the same national debt ratio as Greece.[40] The SNP expects Scotland to be welcomed with ‘open arms’ by the EU.  They are in danger of getting the same welcome as Greece, as well as having a ‘technical government’ being imposed on them by Brussels, as when Loukas Papademos, a vice president of the European Central Bank and former Governor of the Bank of Greece, was installed by Brussels as Prime Minister in 2011, replacing the elected leader George Papandreou.[41] The reality is that the only people with ‘open arms’ will be the SNP carrying a begging bowl.

To avoid this and to meet the entry criteria, an SNP government would have to introduce the very austerity measures that it has always accused the ‘Tory Westminster’ Government of imposing on Scotland. This was confirmed by the SNP’s own Growth Commission Report which predicted that Scotland would need 10 years of austerity to meet the Maastricht criteria for entry into the euro following independence from the UK.[42]  The Institute for Government also predicts that Scotland will have to wait for up to 10 years to re-join the EU.[43]

Third, there are the membership conditions for new countries. Apart from becoming members of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union and having all laws either determined or approved by the unelected and unaccountable European Commission (EC) and European Court of Justice, these include joining both the euro (and accepting loss of monetary independence) and the Schengen Agreement on the free movement of people. The EC also has plans to control tax (and hence fiscal) policy, foreign and defence policy, and set up a European army.  The latter will most likely to be accompanied by compulsory national service as happens in many EU states. Scotland would lose the opt-outs and budget rebates negotiated by the UK when it was an EU member and it would have to accept its quota of refugees set by the EC.  All this contradicts the notion that Scotland will have any meaningful independence as a member of the EU – certainly any more real independence than it has as part of the UK. In fact, the opposite is likely, as the next point demonstrates.

Fourth, Scotland’s influence in the European Parliament (EP) would be greatly diminished compared with what it currently has in the UK Parliament. The fifty-nine Scottish MPs in Westminster have 9.08% of the votes out of the 650 members of the House of Commons. This is bigger than Scotland’s 8.2% share of the UK population. By contrast there would be only six Scottish MEPs sitting in the EP in Brussels. Of course, they would be able to vote on EU tax policy, foreign and defence policy, and setting up a European army.  But they would have 0.85% of the votes out of 705 members of the EP, a 10-fold reduction in influence.

Fifth, the EU does not do redistribution along the lines of the Barnett formula.  Germany is determined that the EU does not become a ‘transfer union’, where Germany bails out profligate governments like Italy, Spain and Greece by guaranteeing their debts.[44] Scotland would be expected to be ‒ and, as a successful economy ‒ would certainly wish to be a net contributor to the EU budget.  Since Scotland would have one of the highest ratios of international trade to GDP of all member states, it would therefore be collecting one of the highest ratios of tariffs which would then have to be handed over to Brussels.  The UK was in exactly the same position and Mrs Thatcher was able to negotiate a budget rebate.  This has been a constant sore with the EU and other member states and they are determined that there will be no more rebates.

Sixth is the issue of the land border between England and Scotland which would become one of the EU’s external borders. Since Scotland would be a member of the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union as well as be part of Schengen Area, it could no longer be a member of the UK’s own Single Market and Customs Union. You just have to look at the practical problems Northern Ireland has with implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.  But it would be far more complicated. Northern Ireland is in the EU’s Single Market to avoid a land border with the Republic of Ireland. The ROI is also not in the Schengen Area which is the only reason that the Common Travel Area between the ROI and the UK can operate.  But there would have to be a physical land border between England and Scotland with border checks on travellers moving between the two countries, as well as customs checks and sanitary/phytosanitary (SPS) checks on food and plant products crossing the border. There could be no the Common Travel Area between Scotland and RUK. The Isle of Wight would find it easier to join the EU than Scotland.

In addition, since Scotland would have to implement EU regulations and economic policies, this is likely to lead to regulatory divergence between Scotland and RUK with increased trade barriers over time. As a consequence, trade with RUK would also fall over time. A 2013 UK Government study prior to the Scottish Referendum estimated that Scottish independence would reduce Scotland’s trade with RUK by around 80% after 30 years. The study pointed to the example of the 1993 break-up of Czechoslovakia. Over the decade that followed, the share of Czech exports going to Slovakia declined from 22% to 8%, while the share of Slovakian exports sold to the Czech Republic fell from 42% to 13%.[45]

Seventh, it is unlikely that the economic benefits from EU membership would be sufficient to compensate for these costs and losses. Thomas Sampson, one of the authors of the LSE study discussed above argues that ‘rejoining the EU following independence would do little to mitigate these costs, and in the short run would probably lead to greater economic losses than maintaining a common economic market with the rest of the UK’.

Yet Fiona Hyslop dismisses this: ‘As an independent member of the EU, free from the damage of Brexit, Scotland would be part of the huge single market which is seven times the size of the UK. There is no reason whatsoever that Scotland could not emulate the success of independent countries of our size which are far wealthier per head than the UK. Denmark’s GDP per head is around 20% higher than the UK’s and Norway’s is nearly 40% higher. In the real world, through membership of the EU, independent Ireland has dramatically reduced its trade dependence on the UK, diversifying into Europe and in the process its national income per head has overtaken the UK’s. …The study is also clear that it takes no account of any changes in migration policy, inward investment or any economic levers the Scottish Government would have control of in an independent Scotland to do things better and boost the economy. With our economic resources and advantages, control of economic policy and membership of the EU, Scotland would be very well placed to grow the economy’.[46]

Again, these claims are simply wishful thinking.  Where is the economic plan and risk assessment for independence?  Where are the estimates of the costs of switching from sterling to a new Scottish currency and then a second switch into the euro once Scotland had joined the EU? Where are the estimates of the border costs and the costs of lost trade with Scotland’s biggest trading partner, the RUK?  How does she explain that when Scotland was in the EU’s Single Market and able to exploit a market ‘seven times the size of the UK’, it was still the case that trade with the UK was four times the size of trade with the EU?

The Fraser of Allander Institute raises the same issues very clearly:[47]

Success in developing a vibrant services sector over the years has brought a relatively high standard of living to Scotland, particularly compared to other parts of the UK outside of London. But it’s also created a relatively greater dependence upon the UK market for demand [for services, the UK is by far the dominant market]. By becoming less of a country that ‘makes things’ it follows that meeting our export ambitions becomes that bit harder.

Now some will see this as an argument for constitutional change, with independence providing an opportunity to follow the lead of other small independent European economies and to create a more vibrant and internationally facing economy.

Others will argue that none of this is guaranteed. And at the same time, they will point to the substantial risks to jobs and prosperity of attempting to unpick the integrated service sector links between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

…Either way, what it does suggest, is that the Scottish Government – if they remain serious about setting out a convincing case for the economics of independence – are going to have to set out how existing patterns of trade, both internationally and the rest of the UK, will be impacted (both for better and for worse) through constitutional change. It won’t be sufficient just to make bold claims about what ‘is possible’.

Some of Hyslop’s assertions are also seriously misleading.  For example, if Ireland’s per capita national income has overtaken the UK’s, this is entirely due to the fact that Ireland has set itself up as a tax haven, allowing mainly US multinationals to pay much lower taxes than elsewhere ‒ Ireland has one of the world’s lowest corporation tax rates at 12.5%, compared with 21% in the US. This results in Ireland’s GDP being inflated by offshore cash flows with no economic substance behind them. In 2017, Ireland’s GDP of €294bn exceeded its Gross National Income (GNI) of €181 bn – the measure of genuine, in-country economic activity – by €113 bn as a result of these cash flows.[48] This is widely known and has been described as ‘leprechaun economics’ by US Nobel prize winning economist, Paul Krugman.[49] This situation is unsustainable, and the US is now demanding that there should be a minimum global corporation tax rate of 21%.[50] Norway’s GDP is higher because of the income generated by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund which manages the revenue from Norway’s oil and gas resources in the North Sea.[51] Denmark’s GDP is higher because it does not face the productivity-sapping tragedy of Europe’s biggest drug problem[52] and rapidly declining school standards.[53] These problems will not be cured by being in the EU.

There is similarly misleading use of language in the Scottish Government’s ‘After Brexit: The UK Internal Market Act & Devolution’ Report of March 2021.[54] For example, it uses this kind of language: ‘The EU Withdrawal Act constrains the powers of the Scottish Parliament in what was called a “power grab”. UK Government Ministers have taken powers to spend in devolved areas – in effect a “funding grab”.  Most alarming of developments since Brexit, the Westminster Parliament has recently passed the Internal Market Act, which substantially weakens the ability of the Scottish Parliament to legislate effectively in devolved policy areas’. What the report does not admit is that if Scotland joined the EU, then it would be the EU that exercised the power and funding ‘grabs’. The EU would want precisely the same centralising control over the economy of Scotland that the SNP accuses the UK Government of exercising, but without the Barnett formula redistributions. To repeat, the EU does not do redistribution.

Further, while Scotland has many natural as well as economic resources and advantages, these can either be exploited now or will be handed over to the EU. In 2016, the partial asset value of Scottish natural capital was £196 billion, 20% of the UK asset valuation.[55] This included 90% of UK fresh water reserves and 75% of UK fish. It also included agricultural biomass, minerals, timber, carbon sequestration and renewable energy generation. However, the largest single category was fossil fuels at 46% of the total at £89bn.  This is now a rapidly diminishing asset category and its value in Scotland’s natural capital accounts fell by 39% from £147bn between 2015 and 2016 alone. Further, it now looks as though there will be a complete ban on new explorations of North Sea oil implemented before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November. This will effectively reduce the value of North Sea oil in Scotland’s natural capital accounts to zero. There will be no Scottish sovereign wealth fund built around North Sea oil and gas reserves. Around 100,000 jobs in Scotland are currently dependent on North Sea oil, although some might be redirected to green technologies, such as carbon capture systems and hydrogen.[56]  That represents of 4% of the 2.637m people employed in Scotland and not far short of the 123,000 people currently unemployed.[57]

If Scotland became ‘independent’, Scotland’s fish would be handed over to the EU as part of the Common Fisheries Policy, while Scotland’s water could only be exported to RUK.  Further, none of these resources are particularly labour intensive, so little new job creation will arise from more efficient management of these resources on independence, assuming there is any. Further, they are not the jobs that Scots want to do.

Conclusion

By any measure, the Scottish people will be materially worse off if Scotland secedes from the UK.  It is fantasy economics to believe otherwise.  While they have a perfect right to do so, do they really want this economic self-harm?

Further, the idea that Scotland can become an ‘independent’ state within the EU defies the meaning of the word ‘independent’. Member states do not have the basics of independence which is control of the money supply, control of taxes and spending, control of defence and foreign policy etc. Instead all that EU membership will do is make Scotland little better than a colony of the EU with much less control over spending than it has now.

Many Scottish nationalists will tell you privately that they realise this, but say that they would rather be ruled from Brussels than from London. Out of a population of 5.5m, 1,661,191 voted to stay in the EU and a 1,018,322 didn’t.[58] Do the rest of the Scottish people want to go through all this pain and disruption to end up being an EU colony?

If the answer is ‘Yes’, then a popular name for the new Scottish currency is the ‘dafty’.

Initially, there will be one dafty to the £.  But the SNP’s election manifesto promises an end to NHS dentistry charges, free bikes for poorer children, free bus travel for under-22s, a laptop or tablet and internet connection for every school pupil, an extra £2.5bn for the NHS, a four-day working week, and an income tax freeze for 5 years.  The total annual cost is £7.8bn, pushing up the budget deficit from 8.9% to 13.9%. The only way to pay for this will be to print more dafties (who in their right minds is going to lend the SNP the money to pay for this?). And this will lead to inflation with the dafty rapidly losing value against the £. Soon it will be 2 dafties to the £, then 3 dafties to the £, etc.

The one lesson that economics teaches you is that there are no free lunches. The SNP is completely devoid of any economic credibility. No wonder they are so keen on joining the European Union. Both the EU and SNP are running their economies as a Ponzi scheme ‒ effectively handing out goodies now, while concealing the costs that future members of the scheme ‒ AKA future taxpayers ‒ will inevitably have to pay.  One of the ways that the EU does this is through Target2, as explained here. The SNP wants to join the EU Ponzi scheme as soon as possible, so someone else bails them out at a future date.  If you want to know what happens in the end, just ask Bernie Madoff.

Professor David Blake, City University of London

Last week’s article ‘Scottish independence – playing by EU rules’ is here.

Alex Salmond wants Scotland to join the EU Single Market as soon as possible.  Why the Single Market is a bad deal for workers is explained here.


[1] https://www.parliament.uk/globalassets/documents/heritage/articlesofunion.pdf

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Scottish_independence_referendum

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_United_Kingdom_general_election

[4] https://www.statista.com/statistics/348324/gdp-of-scotland-annually/;

https://www.statista.com/statistics/281744/gdp-of-the-united-kingdom/

[5] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1003902/uk-gdp-by-country-2018/

[6] The Barnett formula is used by the UK Treasury to calculate the annual block grants for the Scottish government, Welsh government and Northern Ireland executive; https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/barnett-formula

[7] https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/publication/devolution-at-20/public-spending-and-taxation

[8] This includes £1.2bn in the March 2021 Budget.

[9] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/spending-review-for-whole-uk-will-deliver-for-scotland; https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/questions-the-snp-avoid-answering; https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/the-emperor-has-no-clothes-or-vaccines/

[10] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn04033/

[11]  This includes spending by the Scottish Government and Scottish local authorities, plus spending by UK Government departments in Scotland.

[12] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn06625/

[13] https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/tax-by-tax-spend-by-spend/oil-and-gas-revenues/

[14] https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn06625/

[15] https://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/brexit17.pdf

[16] https://www.gov.scot/publications/export-stats-scotland-2018/

[17] https://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/brexit17.pdf; https://fraserofallander.org/economic-statisticians-irony-and-scotlands-latest-trade-statistics/

[18] Hanwei Huang, Thomas Sampson and Patrick Schneider (2021) Disunited Kingdom? Brexit, trade and Scottish independence, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, February; https://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/brexit17.pdf

[19] Border costs include tariffs, quotas, prohibitions, import licences, product standards (such as regulatory standards on labelling and testing), dual certification, customs documentation requirements, border delays, and rules of origin requirements. Rules of origin are the criteria used to determine the national source of a product. They are used to set duties and restrictions on imported products. For example, requiring a minimum percentage of components to be sourced from the domestic economy of the trading partner. See: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/roi_e/roi_info_e.htm

[20] This assumes trade between two countries increases with the size of their economies and reduces with the distance between them.

[21] This is the pure Scexit effect, excluding the Brexit effect which is also modelled in the LSE study.

[22] https://www.thenational.scot/news/19059841.scottish-government-rejects-lse-report-saying-indyref2-will-hit-scottish-economy-hard/

[23] https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/many-ships-clyde-shipyards-expecting-build/

[24] https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/questions-the-snp-avoid-answering

[25] https://www.deliveringforscotland.gov.uk/scotland-in-the-uk/public-spending/

[26] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1003902/uk-gdp-by-country-2018/

[27] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/mar/24/nhs-scotland-staff-to-be-offered-at-least-4-pay-rise

[28] https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/fiscal_challenges_facing_an_independent_scotland

[29] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule_(fiscal_policy)

[30] http://tylermm.com/foreign-currency-mortgages.html

[31] https://www.thenational.scot/news/19089109.andrew-wilson-rejects-claim-scots-will-struggle-get-mortgages-independence/

[32] https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2020/02/05/what-would-it-take-for-scotland-to-rejoin-the-eu-as-an-independent-state/; https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/cqi01wjj1n/Internal_ScotIndependence_200129.pdf

[33] https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1394547/nicola-sturgeon-snp-scotland-tax-independence-tory-ruth-davidson-union-uk-tory-spt

[34] https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17653369.nicola-sturgeon-confident-scotland-welcomed-open-arms-eu/

[35] https://www.insee.fr/en/metadonnees/definition/c1348

[36] Set by the EU Stability and Growth Pact.

[37] https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/questions-the-snp-avoid-answering

[38] Budget Statement, HMT, 3 March 2021

[39] https://www.taxpayersalliance.com/fiscal_challenges_facing_an_independent_scotland. Current GDP will be around 10% lower than 2019 GDP quoted earlier on account of the pandemic.

[40] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/03/19/europes-tourist-season-jeopardy-cost-vaccine-failure-keeps-rising/

[41] https://www.neweurope.eu/article/loukas-papademos-be-greek-prime-minister/; https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/european-greece-technocrats

[42] https://www.sustainablegrowthcommission.scot/report; https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/foi-eir-release/2018/09/foi-18-02282/documents/foi-18-02282—summary-report/foi-18-02282—summary-report/govscot%3Adocument/FOI-18-02282%2B-%2Bsummary%2Breport.pdf

[43] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit/scottish-independence-eu-membership-10-years-b1824948.html

[44] Quentin Peel (2012) Germany and Europe: A very federal formula, Financial Times, 9 February, https://www.ft.com/content/31519b4a-5307-11e1-950d-00144feabdc0;

Andreas Rinke (2020) Would-be Merkel successor warns against EU ‘transfer union’, Reuters, 21 May, https://www.reuters.com/article/eu-recovery-germany-idINKBN22X2EF

[45] HM Government (2013) ‘Scotland Analysis: Macroeconomic and Fiscal Performance’; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/scotland-analysis-macroeconomic-and-fiscal-performance

[46] https://www.thenational.scot/news/19059841.scottish-government-rejects-lse-report-saying-indyref2-will-hit-scottish-economy-hard/

[47] https://fraserofallander.org/economic-statisticians-irony-and-scotlands-latest-trade-statistics/

[48] http://www.lyddonconsulting.com/the-irish-economic-miracle-fact-or-fiction/; http://www.lyddonconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Global-Britain-Irish-Economic-Miracle-08.10.19.pdf

[49] http://www.paulgosling.net/2019/01/leprechaun-economics/

[50] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/04/08/ireland-netherlands-set-suffer-new-biden-tax-plan

[51] https://www.nbim.no/en/; https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/27/norway-wealth-fund-earned-a-record-180-billion-in-2019.html

[52] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/scotland-has-highest-drug-death-rate-in-europe-as-it-reaches-worst-level-since-records-began-a4191106.html

[53] https://www.itv.com/news/border/2019-12-03/new-figures-show-long-term-education-decline-as-scotland-falls-behind-england

[54] https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/strategy-plan/2021/03/brexit-uk-internal-market-bill-scotlands-future/documents/brexit-uk-internal-market-act-devolution/brexit-uk-internal-market-act-devolution/govscot%3Adocument/brexit-uk-internal-market-act-devolution.pdf?forceDownload=true

[55] https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/articles/scottishnaturalcapitalaccounts/2020

[56] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/03/13/ministers-considering-ban-north-sea-exploration-licences/

[57] https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/statistics/2021/02/labour-market-monthly-briefing-february-2021/documents/labour-market-monthly-briefing-pdf/labour-market-monthly-briefing-pdf/govscot%3Adocument/Labour%2BMarket%2BMonthly%2BBriefing%2B-%2BFeb%2B2021.pdf

[58] https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/elections-and-referendums/past-elections-and-referendums/eu-referendum/results-and-turnout-eu-referendum/eu-referendum-results-region-scotland

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About the author

David Blake

Professor David Blake is at Cass Business School