Douglas Ross clashes with Nicola Sturgeon over IndyRef2
Nicola Sturgeon’s push for independence could result in “eye-watering austerity” north of the border should she succeed in realising her dream, Scotland’s First Minister has been warned. Michelle Ballantyne, a former Tory member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), was speaking in response to the publication of a report by Glasgow University suggesting Scots could see their spending power drop by 20 percent if Scotland goes it alone.
Economist Professor Ronald MacDonald predicts a cut to household spending of £7,300 for households with a combined income of £35,000 annually.
Ms Ballantyne, who is now the leader of Reform UK Scotland, told Express.co.uk: “This analysis will come as no surprise to anyone with an ounce of economic intelligence.”
The SNP was trying to “mislead” the Scottish people with “false claims of a wealthier future” despite a report by the Sustainable Growth Commission indicating separation would require “significant fiscal discipline for many years to come”, Ms Ballantyne claimed.
Nicola Sturgeon’s independence dream will trigger austerity, claims Michelle Ballantyne
Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s First Minister
She added: “The SNP has never shown an ounce of serious economic planning for so-called independence.
“No attempt has been made to bring Scotland’s GDP deficit under control, every budget brings more ‘freebies’ in the hope of influencing a young impressionable vote, spending decisions have followed a virtuous signalling approach, while the core need to stimulate and grow the economy has been ignored in favour of growing the welfare system.
“Analysis always assumes that trade with the rest of the UK will continue and grow while common sense and experience tell us that some businesses will minimise their risks by moving out of Scotland, while asset-rich individuals will move their wealth rather than risk it being devalued.
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Michelle Ballantyne is now the leader of Reform UK Scotland
“For the Yes movement to achieve its dream Scots would have to accept eye-watering austerity and a complete revolution of Government away from the current model of spend and blame.
“Scotland’s geographic isolation underpinned its union with the rest of the UK and it is time the SNP acknowledged that a vote for breaking away will step us back in time to the same challenges our ancestors faced.”
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “There is a global cost-of-living crisis and people are worried about feeding their families and heating their homes.
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Nicola Sturgeon and deputy First Minister John Swinney
Nicola Sturgeon pictured at Holyrood
“Instead of coming up with solutions, the SNP is only focused on making this even worse by cutting household spending power by a fifth.”
She added: “As this economist says, breaking away from the rest of the UK will only make life more challenging for hardworking families across Scotland.
“There’s never a good time for a household to take a financial hit of this nature, but especially not through a worldwide financial crisis.
Nicola Sturgeon factfile
“Scotland’s positive future is with the rest of the UK, ensuring we can all get through this period together.”
Prof MacDonald’s analysis suggests soaring interest rates and increasingly expensive imports will drain the coffers, with Scotland needing to shift to a new currency more quickly that the SNP is planning.
He told The Sunday Times: You’re talking in my view of a devaluation of between 20 per cent to 30 per cent.
“These are big numbers and they will affect people’s wages and they will affect people’s mortgages.
Scottish independence: The potential cost
“The key thing the SNP is not telling people is that financial markets bring events forward.
“The crisis will be brought forward to day one of independence. It’s obvious why they don’t want to talk about what will happen on day one of independence.”
The Scottish Government said: “As set out in the Economy Paper, the powers of independence would enable the Scottish Government to replicate the success of many neighbouring countries which are more prosperous, productive and fairer than the UK, and this would enable the government to protect and support households across the country who are facing the growing cost of living crisis.
“Scotland would continue to use the pound on independence until it is judged that conditions are suitable for individuals and businesses to move to an independent Scottish currency.”