Sturgeon slammed by Cole-Hamilton on independence referendum
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The SNP are ramping up its campaign for another Scottish independence referendum and has frequently expressed hopes of Scotland one day rejoining the European Union. During the Brexit vote in June 2016, Scotland voted by a huge margin of 62 percent to 38 percent against the UK leaving the EU. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has used used this to push the case for Scottish independence, arguing Brexit happened “against the will” of the Scottish people.
The SNP and the Scottish Greens are now drawing up a joint Government prospectus on independence that they plan to put to Scots ahead of a move to hold a new referendum before the end of 2023.
But Alistair Jones, associate politics professor at De Montfort University in Leicester, warned Scotland may have to take on part of the UK’s debt burden following a successful independence vote, which could total £10billion per year “over an extended number of years”.
This has led Express.co.uk readers to furiously tear apart the plans from Ms Sturgeon and the SNP for a new Scottish independence referendum.
One named “uklad” said: “Only £10billion per year, I think the figure is much more than this.
“Don’t forget Scotland’s EU membership bill as well on top of this.
“Scotland would be broke within minutes of leaving the UK and would never be independent from the UK.”
“MaybeWhats” questioned whether Scotland could pay for a number of elements critical to Scots if they were to go it alone.
The Express.co.uk reader wrote: “If they got independence, could they fund their NHS, could they fund their state pension, could they fund free prescriptions, free parking etc?”
Express reader “Captain Scarlet1” raged: “Sturgeon needs to understand two things.
“One there won’t be a referendum for another 30 years and secondly she can’t rejoin the EU as Scotland was never a member of the EU.
“Britain was the member state and Scotland was a member by default.
“Maybe she should try to do her day job occasionally instead of watching Scotland going down the pan.”
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In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Professor Jones detailed several scenarios that could leave Scotland with a huge financial bill following independence.
He said: “There could be an annual payment to help in the servicing of the UK national debt and for that to be in place for an extended number of years.
“This could be something like £10billion per year, but that will depend upon the agreed legacy sum that the Scots would owe, and the length of time of repayment.
“Alternatively, a proportion of the UK national debt could be transferred to Scotland upon gaining independence.
“An example is the splitting of Czechoslovakia, where the debt, liabilities and assets were split 2:1 between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based around population size.
“If that model was followed, the split would be 11:1 between Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
Professor Jones added: “If UK national debt is around £2trillion, the 11:1 ratio will see the Scots take on around £181billion.
“There will also be assets to take into consideration (e.g. oil and gas) and these will have to be factored in, along with any other liabilities (total UK liabilities, pre-Covid, were around £4.5trillion).
“Yet there could be a decision to split the debt by proportion of GDP or proportion of government spending.”
But Professor Jones urged caution over the matter, and said: “Neither side will want to explore this issue until an independence vote has been successful.
“Talk about such things, in advance, could undermine the Union arguments by merely acknowledging their possibility.
“Conversely, the size of the potential debt could scare lukewarm independence voters.”
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