Yes and No Set Out Financial Arguments

Competing estimates of the costs and savings of Scottish independence have been set out, with the Scottish and UK governments outlining their visions for the nation's constitutional future.

The First Minister and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury have both delivered their financial arguments around the independence debate in Edinburgh this morning. 

Alex Salmond claimed Scotland could be £5 billion a year better off in 15 years' time without having to raise taxes if it became independent. 

He spoke out as a new paper was published by the Scottish Government, detailing how it believes a Yes vote in September's referendum could help boost the economy north of the border. 

An increase of 0.3 percentage points in the long run productivity growth rate could raise an additional £2.4 billion a year in revenues by 2029/30, according to the Scottish Government. 

Meanwhile, upping the employment rate in Scotland by 3.3 percentage points - taking it to the level of the five best-performing countries in the developed world - could provide additional revenues of £1.3 billion a year, the paper claims. 

A rise in the population, which is less than the UK as a whole is expected to see, could net a further £1.5 billion a year by 2029/30, it argues. 

Mr Salmond said the Outlook For Scotland's Public Finances paper "gives a very clear picture of what independence could deliver in economic terms for the people of Scotland''. 

He argued: "By increasing productivity by 0.3 percentage points per annum, boosting the working-age population by less than the predicted UK rate, and increasing the employment rate by just over three percentage points, bringing Scotland up to the same standard as the top countries in the OECD, we can generate over £5 billion a year of extra revenues within 15 years, without increasing tax by a penny. 

"Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, more prosperous per head than the UK, France and Japan, but we need the powers of independence to ensure that that wealth properly benefits everyone in our society. 

"That wealth means we will start life as an independent nation with strong finances and huge economic potential. 

"The latest figures show that by using the powers that only independence will bring we can deliver an independence bonus with increased revenues for Scotland. 

"The choice Scotland will make in September is between the opportunity to grow our economy, to boost revenues and to invest in public services, or to continue with an economic policy set in Westminster that ignores Scotland's needs. 

"This analysis shows that on all headline measures of the public finances, Scotland's fiscal position is forecast to be stronger than, or at the very least level with, the UK position.'' Just across town, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury laid out his financial argument for a No vote. Danny Alexander claimed people in Scotland will be £1,400 better off if they reject independence and opt to stay in the UK. He said it was the "UK dividend'' for every man, woman and child north of the border, on the day the UK Treasury published a new report assessing the fiscal position of an independent Scotland over the period from 2016 to 2035/36. With voters in Scotland due to decide the country's future in September's independence referendum, Mr Alexander argued that leaving the UK would mean lower tax revenues north of the border and increased public spending. The UK Government minister said a separate Scotland could face higher interest payments on Government debts, at the same time as it had to deal with declining oil revenues and an ageing population. Mr Alexander said: "Today we have shown that, by staying together, Scotland's future will be safer, with stronger finances and a more progressive society. "Because as a United Kingdom we can pool resources and share risks, it means a UK dividend of £1,400 a year for every man, woman and child in Scotland. "That dividend is our share of a more prosperous future. It is the money that will pay for better public services and a fairer society.''