Scotland warned it would become 'Greece without sun' after independence


The SNP and Scottish Greens are preparing to set out their plan for a 2023 referendum on Scottish independence. Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater, who joined the Scottish Government last year as part of the SNP-Green co-operation agreement, said the Greens would also be publishing their own prospectus in addition to the Scottish Government’s plan. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the document will be a “detailed prospectus” which will renew the case for independence. The SNP leader has been pushing for a second vote on independence ever since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.

However, a number of economists have warned that the economic impact of secession could be damaging to the country.

This included a 2016 study by centre-right think tank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS).

The CPS warned in its report titled ‘Scotland: Could it become Greece without the sun?’ that leaving the UK would expose Scotland to “significant economic risk.”

The think tank concluded in its study: “Scotland trades over four times more with the rest of the UK compared to other EU countries.

“Why therefore would you break ties with the UK for the purpose of restoring ties with the rest of the EU via European Union membership?

“There is a precedent for a small, romantic country, surrounded by hundreds of islands, perched on the extremity of Europe, seeking membership of the euro: Greece.

“Of course, it would be impertinent to suggest that Scotland’s circumstances are directly equivalent to those of Greece, but it does undoubtedly serve as a useful reminder that countries with challenging public finances can end up suffering inside the euro.”

The Scottish Daily Mail published a front page at the time headline: “Just like Greece…without the sun.”

In April last year, the Scotland-Greece comparison was echoed when Lord Ashcroft commissioned research which found most people in Scotland believe that their taxes will go up and food prices will rise if the nation decides to leave the UK.

After publishing the study, Lord Ashcroft said that Edinburgh could become the “fiscal Athens of the North”.

He said: “While not necessarily ready to say they have yet changed their minds, we found some former ‘Yes’ voters more nervous about independence.

“Though they think [Nicola] Sturgeon has outperformed the Prime Minister, they know that vaccine procurement was a UK effort and doubt whether an independent Scotland could have sustained its own furlough scheme on anything like the scale seen over the past year.

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“With oil revenues now offering a less reliable foundation for the Scottish economy, the thought grows that Edinburgh might become not just the architectural, but the fiscal Athens of the North.”

According to an analysis of trade by the London School of Economics (LSE) published in April 2021, Scotland would be “considerably poorer” from a trading perspective as an independent country.

The report added that independence would be a bigger hit to Scotland than Brexit was to the UK, and leaving both unions would cause an equivalent income loss of between £2,000 and £2,800 per person.

The authors warned that a combination of Brexit and independence could hit Scotland hard.

According to the researchers, this scenario would reduce Scottish income per capita in the long run by about 6.5 percent in an optimistic scenario and 8.7 percent in a pessimistic one.


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The stark impact is due to Scotland’s trading ties with the UK – the UK accounts for more than 60 percent of Scotland’s imports and exports.

Last year, Tory MSP Stephen Kerr told that independence would be “devastating” for Scotland.

He said: “Independence would be economically devastating for Scotland, over 60 percent of everything we make ends up being sold in the UK.

“Ms Sturgeon would be intent on making a customs border at Berwick or Carlisle. It would be outrageous, it would impoverish Scotland.

“Even their own growth commission, Andrew Wilson is one of their own MSPs, he did a report on the economic impact of independence, which was buried by the SNP.”


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