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Scottish independence: The great unknown for financial services

Uncertainty around whether UK financial products will be supported in an independent Scotland could force Scottish-based platforms to register their companies outside the country and move UK investors with Sipps and Isas into these new businesses.

As part of the UK single market, Scottish-based platforms are able to administer unique tax-free savings products, including Isas and Sipps.

As with all financial services firms in Scotland, customers in the rest of the UK account for a significant portion of business for platforms operating out of Scotland.

For example, Alliance Trust Savings estimates 80 per cent of customers on its platform are based outside of Scotland in the UK.

But a recent report by Rathbones reveals Scottish-based platforms with UK investors holding Sipps and Isas  would also be in breach of EU cross-border rules in the event of independence as administrators of these products are not allowed to be based in a “foreign” country.

The report adds the situation would follow a similar pattern for savers in Scotland who have these products invested on platforms based in the rest of the UK. One senior provider source, who wished to remain anonymous, says this would be a significant and costly issue for platforms based in Scotland that is likely to see firms move all or part of their business south of the border.

The source says: “This would be a massive issue for Scottish platforms because they would have to re-register all or part of their business outside of Scotland, so they will run two businesses in future.

“This may sound like quite a simple thing to do but it’s not because you are changing the legal status of the contract written under one country’s legal jurisdiction so that it applies to another separate jurisdiction. This is potentially very costly and time-consuming. It is not to be sniffed at.”

The source told Money Marketing the platforms market could shrink in Scotland as a result of independence. 

Alliance Trust Savings says it has already taken steps to set up a paper company in England to allow for the transfer of its UK customers following independence.

A spokesperson for ATS says: “To remove any uncertainty, we have established additional companies which will be registered in England. “This active decision would enable our non-Scottish customers of ATS to manage their assets in a company in their own jurisdiction and currency, along with our commitment to work with our Scottish customers to work within the framework of whatever a new Scottish administration decides to establish.”

“You could argue that Scottish regulation would cost less because the overheads on the regulator’s budget would be significantly less.”

Standard Life declined to comment on the impact an independent Scotland would have on its platforms business. The company says if it felt the interests of the business or clients were put at risk, it will take “whatever action necessary to protect their interests”.

Scottish Widows, which has a direct-to-consumer platform, also declined to comment. Nucleus and Aegon are registered in England for their platform businesses.

The future of Isas in an independent Scotland has already been thrown into question because they are unique to the UK market and can only be sold to UK residents.

The Scottish government has said it will continue to offer Isas in an independent Scotland. But the Treasury’s Scotland analysis paper argues while Scotland could create its own Isa equivalent, these could not be sold and administered on a UK wide basis.

Tisa technical director Jeffrey Mushens says: “An independent Scotland would have to agree with the UK to transfer confidential tax data across including national insurance numbers and tax status. It would also have to set up its own HMRC and going forward is it going to offer its own Isas? 

“All of these things are doable but the difficulty is practicalities of carrying out this enormous operation in such a short period of time. Scottish firms also won’t be able to offer the current UK Isas so what would it do with its UK business? Does that mean the business will have to be forcibly disinvested or transferred to third parties?”

Brewin Dolphin divisional director for Edinburgh Bryan Johnston says the lack of clarity around Isas is just one of many queries that the firm put to Scottish finance secretary John Swinney, but as of yet remains unanswered.


He says: “We have written to John Swinney asking about issues such as Isas, pensions, national debt and separate regulation but we haven’t in fact had many satisfactory answers. That is probably the biggest issue with which we’re all faced, there are no guarantees whatsoever.”

The Lang Cat principal Mark Polson expects to see financial services firms based in Scotland opening offices in the rest of the UK to enable them to split their operations between Scotland and England.

He says:”If there is a yes vote there would be a period of negotiation so although this does present an issue it is not one that needs to be resolved now. People don’t need to do anything at the moment.”

Verus Chartered Financial Planners co-director Paul Lothian arguies a lack of certainty is one of the biggest issues for advisers and their clients. He says: “Most of my clients have expressed concern mostly around the uncertainty. I have yet to meet one who is in favour of independence.

“They are worried about what the currency and tax regime might be, all of which we don’t have answers to.”

But Murphy Wealth partner Adrian Murphy says it is not yet feasible to expect answers on these key issues. He says: “What the Scottish government has done is lay out how it would like to do things. This is really all they can actually do at this stage of the debate, until negotiations between the UK Government and the EU can get underway after a yes vote.”

Hargreaves Landsdown head of pensions policy Tom McPhail says one area yet to be explored in depth is the duplication of costs for financial services firms and consumers through dual jurisdiction.

McPhail says: “Any consumer communication will have to reflect both jurisdictions. This will take place at a variety of different levels across businesses. It is not known what this cost would also be to investors not just in Scotland but right across the board, and what the drag on product returns may in turn amount to.”

A better regulatory environment?

If Scotland becomes independent and part of the EU, it will have to set up a separate regulator from the UK in order to meet European rules requiring that each individual member state has its own regulator. The Scottish government has set out plans to create a Scottish regulator largely based on the existing rulebook for the FCA.

Thomas Miller Investments head of UK private investment management Harry Morgan says: “Setting up a different regulator would definitely take additional time, when we are just getting used to the FCA and PRA. It would also mean additional cost.”

But Murphy says this cost could be balanced out by the regulatory environment being far smaller and less complex than the existing UK landscape. He says: “There will be some initial set-up costs but in theory you could argue that Scottish regulation would cost less because the overheads on the regulator’s budget would be significantly less.” 

Expert view: Ralph Jackson


Just two months to go to the vote on independence for Scotland and yet questions remain unanswered to assess the impact that a yes or no vote would have on UK financial services. The sector is one of the big battlegrounds for the UK and Scottish political classes. The value of financial services to Scotland is some £9bn with around 85,000 people employed in the sector alone, yet the majority of financial services business is conducted south of the border irrespective of the provider’s base. 

The key issues for anyone in financial services seeking answers revolve around regulation, currency, tax, and the transition period. All these are mostly shrouded in mystery. The Scottish government will not assess tax rates ahead of a vote, nor declare definitively whether sterling will remain the currency of Scotland. Little wonder that, so far, Standard Life, Royal Bank of Scotland and Alliance Trust are allegedly uncertain about their respective positions on independence. 

The largest degree of uncertainty is around financial regulation. If Scotland was to become a separate country, then as an independent member of the EU this would require an independent central bank, and a new financial regulator.  The issue is not just around bailouts and the lender of last resort but who looks after depositors and their money.  

There is no provision for a separate Financial Services Compensation Scheme although the Scottish government says it “would ensure that arrangements for an effective compensation scheme are in place, mirroring the level of protection provided in the UK FSCS”. As for timescale of implementation, the arguments still vary. 

On balance it is clear the sector does not want Scotland to be independent.  There is nothing to indicate substantial changes are afoot among providers and advisers if a yes vote is the result, so those answers need to come quickly and unequivocally for confidence to be maintained.

Ralph Jackson is director at Lansons 

In numbers: Scottish independence cost estimates

The estimated amount it could cost an independent Scotland to set up its own pension protection fund

Start-up cost for a Scottish pensions regulator

Approximate cost for a Scottish equivalent to Nest

Cost of SNP’s plan to increase the state pension to £160 per week

Source: Hargreaves Lansdown



A series of independent reports from the N56 thinktank, backed by business, recently assessed Scotland’s current financial standing and its economic potential. The Scotland Means Business reports set a target for the nation to move from being the 14th wealthiest in the world (ahead of the UK, France and Japan) to a top five position.

They said to meet that ambition, we must nurture the industries in which we have a competitive advantage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the financial sector is a priority but its growth will rely on a number of factors, including a competitive tax regime, infrastructure, and a highly skilled workforce.

Scotland’s financial sector is a great strength but we have the potential to do even better. I believe we can build on our existing strengths in finance to create a “Frankfurt of the North” including more new entrant banks, asset managers and pension funds.

At present our potential is limited by a straightjacket of Westminster public policy tailored to the short-term interests of London and the South-east of England. We also suffer from a London-centric economic model whereby our wealth and talent is drained south. If Scotland is to be all it can be we need the full job-creating economic powers of independence.

There are of course specific opportunities for the financial services sector such as the financial management of an oil investment fund or new public and private sector infrastructure. Jupiter Asset Management, among others, has highlighted the business opportunities they see from an independent Scotland. 

Most of all, Scotland’s financial services industry will benefit like everyone else from decisions about the future of Scotland being taken by those who care most – the people who live and work here.

Stewart Hosie is an MP for Dundee East, and an SNP finance and treasury spokesman



Almost all the customers to whom Scots financial workers sell investments, mortgages and pensions live in the rest of the UK; of the 200,000 pensions sold by Scottish firms last year, just 20,000 were sold to Scots.

As well as selling financial services to the rest of the UK, Scots customers choosing a mortgage, a pension or savings product have easy access to UK companies. This is an obvious benefit of sharing across the UK. For example, there are two million UK Isas located in Scotland.

In workplace pensions, the Institute of Chartered Accountants highlighted the fact that cross-border defined benefit company pension schemes must be fully funded. Given the total UK pension scheme shortfall currently stands at more than £177bn, the costs of doing business in a separate Scotland and UK suddenly just got much more expensive. 

The view of the SNP? An exemption for Scotland will be granted. Apparently the 28 members of the EU which have to follow the funding rules on cross-border schemes will look kindly on the nationalists’ request for special treatment.

Nor has the SNP got credible answers on how to replicate the sophisticated UK regulatory architecture which protects the pensions of Scots. 

The majority of Scots want the security and opportunity which being part of the UK-wide financial services market offers; the nationalists know this too, which is why they assert that Scotland can reject the UK yet retain membership of the UK’s single currency, single market and financial regulatory architecture.  This is hardly realistic. There is only one way for Scotland’s financial sector and consumers to maintain the advantages of the UK financial services system; to remain in the UK and say ‘no thanks to leaving’.

Gregg McClymont is the shadow pensions minister 


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There are 30 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Scotland is the 14th wealthiest country in the World. Standard Life benefits from a pool of local women form unemployed and housewives – who available and cheap, to play a part in the service or administration ( but not on the Board or senior management ) – so why would they up roots and run South. This would require them to provide services – and they would lose the protection form the Edinburgh ” Fathers “, which they enjoy. For example it was not so many years ago that Neither English Banks, in Nat West nor Barclays could gain access to the Scottish Markets of Edinburgh Glasgow or Aberdeen – to make ” Banking Competitive “, or provide competition – such is the protection of Scottish Banks. Since then we have seen Edinburgh Banks take over English banks – and FAIL ! Insolvent Edinburgh based Bank . . . . LloydsTSB and RBS ( the Robbing Bank of Scotland ) – both insolvent and heavily fined for their UNETHICAL PRACTICES and Breaches of Trust ! Aggressive selling practices – and driving businesses out of BUSINESS – with Extraordinary rates of Interest EG Bank of Scotland owned by Halifax – with a 23 % . . . .. overdraft interest Rates – when the Bank of England Base Rate is 0.5% in the most sinister exploitation – of customers – under the corrupt activities of the most Senior Management ( Antonio Horta Ossario and friends). The lack of competition permits such unholy trysts – of ” racketeering and profiteering in the banks – who operate uncontrolled – unregulated – undermining consumers and the Law ( as well as the FCA – with whom they negotiate their penalties fines etc., ). The REAL point is England is the Element of the United Kingdom – which brings Scotland down – and Cameron refuses to permit democracy and has increased costs and taxes – to unbelievable high levels – by lies and deceit to voters and constituents. Cameron has built an economy built of DECEIT – which is failing and he has to sell off the remaining profitable . . .UK companies to foreign suitors . . .Europeans Americans and Chinese . . . .Camerons Sell and be Dammed policy is the only policy which works – for the short term. To Quote a well Known Scotsman in Dads Army – We are ALL Doomed ! . . .Captain Cameron .

  2. A yes vote is always going to spell disaster for Scotland.
    The nation will then become a small country rather like Ireland or Portugal.

  3. @ Paul Wolley You clearly do not understand how control of a Country’s finances as well as control over how the Country is operated – even after being given Scottish labour Party politicians – to Run England . . .for you – should benefit a country – or the Towns within that country. For example Devon and Cornwall want Independence from London. The lack of Gov’t support during the Floods is one example of the Area bereft of help or assistance – due to Centralisation . . .and Corruption . . . by incompetent people who are NOT COMMITTED ! to the country EG How many high flying individuals are evading UK tax – using ” film Ventures ” then claiming they are for British Films – Flimsy excuses ! The in Margaret Thatchers will they find a ” Guernsey Based offshore Trust account ? Now such a fleeing of UK Tax – whilst son Mark was ” apparently selling arms to Africa ? These people are not Fit For Purpose . . . .pay more and get highly paid chimpanzees – if it were not such an insult to a chimpanzee . . . These Sloths are sucking the goodness out of the UK ! UK Plc is up for sale and being sold off by Captain Cameron and his crazed elites . . . . .whilst increasing immigration . . .and destroying Education in Britain . . . .The Culture of Cameron – LOL

  4. Ian, 1. my qualifications in economics and accountancy say that I do.
    2. I suggest a course in English may help you here.
    3. failure to spell my name correctly and write a coherent reply disqualifies you from commenting.
    4. still a bit confused if you are pro or anti. lol.

  5. Paul wins round one.

    I must say Ian I did get a migraine trying to read that.

    As an Englishman living in Scotland I’m going to be voting NO. I am very open minded about this as it could have really changed things for the better if done correctly. However there simply have not been enough questions answered on very important subjects.

    Just last week I was in a taxi and the driver was asking me my vote (as they love to do) and i explained how i stood. He was over the moon, I mean really over the moon that I was a NO voter CURRENTLY. The main reason being he says he has been trying to find out for some time how it will affect him as an individual as he receives a service pension for a disability (not sure exactly where from…) and he tried to find out if he would still get this and was told they didn’t know and could only answer after the vote….pointless then.

    Now, this is a very vague and information light example but one of many.

    I said at the start I’m 50/50. I’d see and read what happens and I may sway to either camp. But not enough has come out and there is too much risk in the decision for my liking. There is not much time left to answer the questions either in my opinion. I know 6 people voting YES, 6.

  6. The future is another place and full of unknowns .. and that is with a NO vote as well
    Businesses adapt to change, the astute see opportunity where the fearful only see problems. The financial sector is no different.

    CURRENCY – An independent Scotland will use Sterling This is clearly set out in the report of the Fiscal Commission set up by the Scottish Government. Which option emerges will only be known after negotiations.

    FINANCIAL PRODUCTS The EU Single market ensures financial products and services can be sold across borders. Scotland’s financial sector operates in many markets presently within the EU and in other countries. (Scotland’s Future (2013) Part 5 p401)

    On independence the people of Scotland will inherit the tax rates and allowances then in operation for the UK. The present Scottish Government plans to simplify the tax system and make considerable savings in the cost of administration and collection. That will benefit all companies based in Scotland not just the financial sector.

    NISAs and SIPPs Part of the inheritance at independence. These are popular products and a Scottish Government would need to seek to ensure their continued availability under a Scottish tax regime. A period of consistency between Scotland and England would be beneficial to allow individuals and governments to plan ahead. Savings have always been important to Scots and the need to provide for the future will continue to be in the interests of people on both sides of the border.

  7. A little more detail on the Hargreaves Lansdown cost calculations would be useful. What can be said is set up costs are small compared with the size of assets managed in Scotland. It is not clear what the last figure refers to. A set up or annual cost? Set up costs are dispersed over several years and savings accrue as a consequence of improved efficiency. The Scottish Government expects to make quite substantial savings over the costs of Westminster administration. What is more SG has a track record in setting up more efficient and cost effective delivery methods and departments.

  8. To make this whole matter very simple to ALL who have a vote.
    Would anyone in their right mind sign and agree a to a blank contract (Otherwise saying YES) that has yet to fully define itself in all respects including terms and conditions, that has yet to fully and compliantly account for the consequences and costs of all the likely events that can and will occur and thereby obligate one to the unknown.
    One would not sign any contract of this kind in any form at any other time yet that is what the YES vote expects and wants the voters to do. It is better to SEY ~ NO and remain a strong UK .

  9. To make this whole matter very simple to ALL who have a vote.
    Would anyone in their right mind sign and agree a to a blank contract (Otherwise saying YES) that has yet to fully define itself in all respects including terms and conditions, that has yet to fully and compliantly account for the consequences regarding actual costs of all the likely events that can and will occur and thereby obligate one to the unknown. Of course not. So why should anyone vote YES?
    One would not sign any contract of this kind in any form at any other time yet that is what the YES vote expects and wants the voters to do. It is better to SEY ~ NO and remain a strong united UK

  10. To make this whole matter very simple to ALL who have a vote.
    Would anyone in their right mind sign and agree a to a blank contract (Otherwise saying YES) that has yet to fully define itself in all respects including terms and conditions, that has yet to fully and compliantly account for the consequences regarding actual costs of all the likely events that can and will occur and thereby obligate one to the unknown. Of course not. So why should anyone vote YES?
    One would not sign any contract of this kind in any form at any other time yet that is what the YES vote expects and wants the voters to do. It is better to SEY ~ NO and remain a strong united UK

  11. Alastair Gordon 22nd July 2014 at 1:42 am

    All the arguments about details which cannot be settled without a negotiation merely distract from the sole issue that the referendum seeks to resolve. That is: do you want to live in a country where political, social and economic matters are dealt with by the elected representatives of the people of that country or do you wish to continue to be ruled by a government mostly elected by voters in another country?
    I am in my eighth decade and have seen the constantly repeated economic cycle of development in Scotland being cut off just as it is gaining momentum because the South east of England is “overheating”.
    Independence would return decision making to the Scottish State. It is up to the elected government of that sovereign state to negotiate the resolution of the multifarious issues which will arise. Yes, that leaves uncertainty – BUT – what is so certain about the status quo?
    I cannot predict what complexion of government will be elected in the 2015 elections but I do know that whatever it is the affairs of Scotland will not be its primary concern. A sovereign Scottish Parliament will have that as its primary concern and the elected members will be clear about to whom they are accountable.
    Well managed businesses are not phased by national boundaries and find solutions. That’s what management is about!

  12. Thanks Alastair,
    The same thing would happen in Scotland over time, the central belt would control the economy and the distant areas would still be, well, less important to Mr Salmond and his mates.
    As for the SNP being the managers,well, don’t get me started on that one.
    A yes vote would be harmful to the country please don’t consider it.

  13. Alastair Gordon 22nd July 2014 at 10:05 am

    It is interesting that you assume as a certainty that the SNP will form a government in an independent Scotland. As the party’s prime objective will have been achieved there is every likelihood that its support will leak away to other interests. The political scene in Scotland is much more diverse than that of England.
    It is clear that you know little of Scotland. Even those opposed to Mr Salmond agree that since he became First Minister the tone of Scotland has improved immensely.

  14. Alastair,
    Please do not assume I know little that I know little about anything. A bad mistake to make. The political scene ? is that something you also know more about than me ? Mr Salmond is on a holy crusade ala Braveheart, He will fail there is no doubt of that. I always read your comments as I think you are a very interesting guy. As I say, never ever assume people with a contrary view know little, it’s not always the case and may upset a lesser man than me.

  15. Paul
    You indicate that you are knowledgeable about independence and given your background you have the qualifications to assess the situation in commenting o the issue. Frankly there is no indication of such research in your comments. You say above “Mr Salmond is on a holy crusade ala Braveheart, He will fail there is no doubt of that.” You are entitled to that opinion although it is nor an interpretation of Alex Salmond I recognise. If you have a substantive argument for the retention of the union I would really like to hear it. Scotland has been bailing out London for the last 30 years and those figures are in the public domain and and produced to meet ONS certification. Of course that is not what you are told but do the research.
    Ian – The blank cheque has been written by Scotland. I suggest you and Paul read an article by an Englishman and a Conservative who came to Edinburgh University and decided he would deconstruct the arguments of the SNP. He found things were not as he had assumed.

  16. There is no contest – Scotland is the fourteenth richest economy in the world – England is way down the list. Scotland has so many diverse businesses ( most recent Amazon – Dunfermline ) – and huge expanses of Call Centres including James Watters in Chairmans office BT – the monopoly which wrecks businesses. I see Mr Murrays mum openened the new tennis centre in St Albans ” Batchwood “, or as it is called locally Corridor Centre – with apparently two showers for men and women in the whole place 7 tennis courts two squash courts – lots of lobbies to make them run and create a queue . . .
    With regard to Scotland giving England Independence it seems there are more English concerned about their independence ( or as we call it Rejection ) – as seen on these pages . The Scottish offices of Stranded Life and Sloppy Widders will remain in Scotland – WHY would England wish to have these poor quality companies entrenched in their lands ? If they did move the costs for their clients would be HUGE . .. . So with independence goes one more headache . As I often remark when I moved form Scotland to England – the IQ of both countries was increased . . . .. .

  17. Alastair Gordon 23rd July 2014 at 4:04 pm

    QED, I think.

    My thanks for the reference. The article by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp confirms what I have always suspected.
    Perhaps I should have joined Business for Scotland and not allowed my prejudice against “mission statements” to hold me back. I shall be back to their website and recommend it to all interested in this debate. It is, of course, unlikely to interest those who argue on the “Braveheart” standard…

  18. The only problem you have if you get a yes vote is what to do next. Nothing is really worked through properly by the yes side and there are far to many uncertainties. Its all very well saying QED that is easy to do, why don’t you come up with some decent proper non biased facts. Scotland’s economy relies on the rest of this kingdom to an enormous extent and from 15 in the world, as you state, this is in fact hard to really confirm, it will be outside the top 40 within 5 years due to the slide of financial services and loss of oil revenues.

  19. Paul

    You are quite free with opinion but there is a distinct lack of statistical data to back it up You say: “it will be outside the top 40 within 5 years due to the slide of financial services and loss of oil revenues.” I really don’t think you have any understanding of the modern Scottish economy or the discipline and rigorous financial management the present Scottish government has shown under devolution. Of course we do not know the make of a post independence Scottish Government. That is for the people to decide in 2016. Nor can we fully predict the outcome of the independence negotiations, but we can look at the work of NIESR on how the debt inheritance MIGHT look under different outcomes. NIESR calculate rUK gross debt will be 112% of GDP and Scotland’s 86% or 64% depending on the allocation of historic surplus contributions from Scotland over the last 30 years ( Maastricht criteria). Scotland is perfectly viable without the oil revenues, but we can use them to to build a future for the people of Scotland and not fritter them away as successive UK governments have done for 40 years. England will need to learn to live within its means and people in England will have a better quality of life when the penny drops that Scotland it not bailing them out anymore and the borrowing to maintain ‘world power’ status is simply unsustainable.

  20. Russell,
    Historical figures will mean nothing in the future, the canvass will have changed beyond all recognition.
    To even set up a new country will cost many millions. The landscape will change if this happens the past has gone so look forward. The Braveheart plan is full of holes, you know this.
    My opinions may well be just that but they are honest ones.

  21. @Paul Wooley . . .Thank you for confirming your qualification . . . as for my misspelling your name Please accept my most sincere apology ! I will take your expert advice and look for a course on ” Course” English a my local college . For your information I am neither a Pro nor an auntie ? I have my views which are personal to me – irrelevant to you other than, simple noseyness.
    Thank you for your personally disqualifying me from commenting further in these pages – demonstrating that your – apparent accountant status does not add up – offers only restrictions . . . such as ” Freedom of Speech “, and an unwillingness to see, or listen to other peoples points of view . We call this your “prejudice “, biased . . . unfairness . .. and injustice . Poor standards emanating from poor education perhaps . . . or just an unwillingness to engage .. .or for some other reason. .. . .
    It is interesting that it is the English and the – who have more to say than the Scots . . .when challenged all they can say ” is we need to rebuild the wall ” forgetting it was the Romans not the English who built it in the first place . . . . and the English sent packing on so many occasions after their attempts to Conquer Scotland . . .to restrict their FREEDOM . . .as Mr William Wallace cried – whilst the English Hung him . . . . Drawn Him . . . .before taking out his innards and Quartering . . . . him – before placing his head on a spike at the Tower of London and his limbs sent to various places. Such is the cruelty of the English as further demonstrated by Paul Wooley . . . .Howzatt for Course English !

  22. As I said before Ian, your inability to construct a coherent sentence does indeed say more than I ever could about your constant ramblings.

  23. Goodness, Money Marketing on line debates look more and more like New Model Adviser every day!!

    I am entirely a “Yes” supporter A vote for Scottish Independence is a vote for English Independence as well 🙂

  24. brian weatherley 25th July 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Gentlemen, Enough!

    Scottish independence is a matter for the Scottish to decide, one way or the other, using their collective judgements.

    I am in my 9th decade( Alistair G 22 July take note). I might have an established view but that means little and does not give me some divine right to tell the Scots how to vote. Consequently, espousing personal views in ever strident tones achieves nothing. Scottish people in Scotland have a vote; Scottish people living outside Scotland do not. The die will be cast by the former and I pray they are blessed with God’s grace to choose well and in a manner that they feel is right for them notwithstanding issues for both Yes and No camps.

    For no reason other than that my maternal Grandfather, who came south in the early 1900s, was a McLaren from Aberdeen, I rather like seeing Scotland in the UNION.

  25. Just to let everyone know that i n Aberdeen and all fishermen that they will vote NO as MR S did not support them when required and therefore the vote is indeed going NO as it should be from the lifeblood of Scotland . Just ask the people that is really living and cnrtibutuing to Scotland. They will Vote NO!!!!

  26. Well said Wingco.
    United we stand divided we ……well do something rather else do we do not really want to do.
    This whole matter is very much beyond politics. It is about people living in a country that they want to live in and enjoy living in and to continue to live in no matter what identity it has the ability to portray but we need to have the United connection with others in the real UK that matters. Why divide us when the World is trying so hard at times to make things harder for us all.
    Be sensible out there and lets be able to say that we are Scottish yes but very much part of the United Kingdom which is what is now so important having the strength of……………being United.

  27. Paul
    The figures I quoted on NIESR debt calculations are not historical but projections based on data current at the time of publication. Angus Armstrong, Director of NIESR has a Treasury background and is not given to be supportive of Scottish independence. Here are some other stats from today’s Money Week – Current deficit borrowing by the UK in the first quarter of this financial year is 7% higher than the same quarter last year. As an accountant you will be well aware that the UK balance sheet is not looking sound. What this tells in Scotland is we need to get out and control our own finances. We know we can save £3.5bn by removing unnecessary expenditure allocated to Scotland for our share of Westminster expenditure. When we really get stuck in it is clear further savings are possible. On setting up the departments we do not have under the devolved settlement we have LSE Professor Dunleavy’s considered calculation of a cost of £200m. Against the savings we can make on bailing out London this is peanuts. I agree neither of us can be foretell the future but today’s data indicates how we must proceed to obtain our objectives. I have provided data to substantiate my prediction the Scottish economy is better placed as an independent country to outperform rUk in the years ahead. Have you anything to back up your predictions other than a misplaced faith in the competence of UK plc?

  28. Russell, projections are of little use and very often wrong anyway. What I do know is that it is a leap into the dark unknown to vote Yes. No currency sorted out, no social security system sorted out. No membership of the EEC sorted out. There are many who Salmond Braveheart has upset and disadvantaged in Greater Scotland and they think he cares only for his central belt elite.
    A yes vote will all end it tears, fortunately it will never happen, the Scots are to canny to fall for it.

  29. Paul

    For an accountant you seem remarkably uncomfortable with producing any figures to back your point of view an independent Scotland would face a dire future when unless there is a dramatic change of policy direction coming out of Westminster it is rUK that is heading for increasing levels of inequality, lower levels of social cohesion and an unsustainable debt mountain. The currency will be the Pound and as Philip Hammond, the unnamed minister, said ‘of course there will be a currency union. rUK exports £60bn to Scotland every year. Without a currency union that will cost rUK bisinesses £500m a year in transaction costs. You have a balance of trade deficit and your healthy trade balance with Scotland will actually be of some benefit. Scotland’s exports, worth £100bn following independence will actually bolster sterling. OK that’s currency sorted, unless rUK in stubborn peeve mode chooses to damage itself irrevocably. Remember the current debt is underwritten by the Treasury, if the assets are not on the table neither is your debt mountain. The EEC is gone and in its place we have the EU. Jean-Claude Juncker has clearly said Scotland is a special case. There will be negotiations over terms but there is no mechanism to make part of an existing member state leave against its will. Scotland will be a net contributor. Have you any idea the disruption and legal issues that would ensue from refusing Scotland prompt entry as a member state. The EU will not go there. ‘central belt elite’ Not a term many in the Central belt of Scotland will recognise. We have considerable problems that Independence can address, especially in the West of Scotland and can only do so through the full powers of independence. Alex Salmond’s constituency is in the North East of Scotland. Look at the map of Scotland with the seats the SNP won in 2011, Incidentally the North East of Scotland is the most prosperous NUTS UK region after London in the league table of the top 20 EU NUTS regions.

  30. Russell, many words, not to many of them based in fact.
    The Treasury has said no to the pound, this is non negotiable.
    The dramatic change of policy , it is your drama I feel.
    You keep on saying your costs and you have, what do you mean , surely its “we have”.
    Stubborn peeve mode, really, and you criticise my phrases.
    Just stick to NUTS mate, its a better read.
    Do you fancy a fiver on the result ?

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