The SNP's Alex Neil revealed a new push from Nicola Sturgeon's party for an independence referendum in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He tol
The SNP’s Alex Neil revealed a new push from Nicola Sturgeon’s party for an independence referendum in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. He told RT that the lockdown and health crisis had “exemplified the difference between Scotland and England in many ways”. However, the RT host ridiculed the new plot, suggesting that “an independent Scotland wouldn’t have the economic clout” needed to survive post-pandemic.
The SNP MSP had complained that the UK Government was not handing Scotland enough money in the wake of the lockdown.
He explained: “We had an independent report published in Scotland showing we need to spend £7bn in the next year to make sure we have an economic recovery, and we need to borrow a lot of that money.
“Under the Sotland Act we can only borrow £450m while the UK Government can borrow £750bn from the central bank.
“We only need one percent of that figure and yet we have to wait for Boris Johnson to say whether he will allow us to borrow that money.”
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He added: “We should be able to make that decision ourselves.”
The RT host fired back: “But Alex, the UK Government has saved businesses with the furlough scheme.
“An independent Scotland wouldn’t have that economic and political clout.”
Mr Neil responded: “That is rubbish! It is all being funded by being borrowed from the Central Bank, basically printing new money. An independent Scotland would be in the same position as Westminster.”
The SNP MSP went on to criticise previous claims that the referendum in 2014 was “once-in-a-generation” vote.
Economic forecasters believe it will be at least 18 months before Scotland makes up the output lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and that is the most optimistic scenario.
In the worst case scenario it could be 2024 before a “new normal” is reached, according to a bombshell report this week.
The Fraser of Allander Institute said the country was now in its “deepest recession in living memory”.
At the same time, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pushed forward the easing of lockdown rules amid growing political pressure to get people back to work and restart key industries.