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Clarity needed on SNP's chaotic set up cost assertions

June 23, 2014 3:26 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has called on the Willie RennieWillie Rennienationalists to provide clarity on their increasingly chaotic assertions on set up costs for their independence plans. The call comes after nationalists this weekend backed a report by Professor Dunleavy into the set up costs for an independent Scotland.

The report said that an independent Scotland would face initial set up costs of £200m if an independent Scotland remained wedded to the UK for nearly a decade sharing tax and defence systems. The timetable set out by the Professor Dunleavy looked to 2022 before tax functions would be fully controlled by the Scottish Government. This contradicts the nationalists white paper which said that the transition to their independence plans would be completed within 16 months.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie did not answer whether the SNP's endorsement of the report also meant an endorsement of the near decade-long set up period.

Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

"The nationalists need to give people clarity on their increasingly chaotic assertions on set up costs for their independence plans. The SNP's ringing endorsement of the £200million initial set up costs means an independent Scotland would be wedded to the UK for 8 years following an independence vote.

"Professor Dunleavy's own timetable shows that some tax functions wouldn't be transferred until 2022. He even said that command and control of the Scottish armed forces would remain under the UK's wing until 2020. The SNP's treasury spokesperson was happy to back the initial £200 million down-payment for set up costs but was questionably silent on the near decade-long limbo needed to keep those costs down. There is a direct contradiction between the SNP's proposed speedy transition to independence and Professor Dunleavy's near-decade long timetable.

"In backing this report the SNP have thrown their own plans into further chaos. They must either admit that their plans cost hundreds of millions more to meet their proposed 16 month timetable or they must tell people that their plans would leave Scotland wedded to the UK but with no representation in the UK for eight years."