Scotland fury: Sturgeon's independence plan to hit Scots with 'massive tax hikes'

The SNP is planning to up the ante in its push for Scottish independence, reports are indicating this week. Ian Blackford, the party’s leader in Westminster, has emailed colleagues to tell them to prepare for the Scottish independence campaign to be ramped up. In his message, Mr Blackford told his team: “We will be moving into a new phase of independence campaigning when we return in October. I will be addressing this in more detail with the group when we return from recess. “As part of this I will be asking Stewart Hosie to work directly with me coordinating our independence campaigning.

“These changes will collectively enhance our ability to hold the UK Government to account and prepare for us for the tasks ahead in the drive to win the arguments for independence.”

The emails were seen by the Daily Record newspaper.

But the Scottish Conservatives remain fiercely opposed to independence, with MSP Stephen Kerr telling that even SNP allies have admitted the economic challenges that could ensue.

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.

“Mr Wilson’s report admitted there would 10-20 years of real austerity, spending cuts, tax hikes and of massive borrowing.

“We are net beneficiaries of the Union. Scotland brings a lot to the Union, the Scots bring a lot to the UK. But the UK is also a huge blessing to Scotland.”

Mr Wilson warned the Scottish First Minister last month that an early push to establish a separate Scottish currency if the country were to become independent could lead to it being devalued and risk “capital flight”.

The SNP recently formed a coalition with the Scottish Greens in an attempt to strengthen the pro-independence cause in Holyrood.

The Greens have already started making economic arguments for independence in light of the ongoing energy crisis.

Tory plans to build a new generation of nuclear reactors proves the need for Scotland to have full powers to set its own energy policy, the Greens have claimed.

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is reportedly ready to approve funding for British engineering giant Rolls-Royce to create a fleet of mini-reactors.

READ MORE: Will Scotland be able to lead the war on climate change without UK?

Tory ministers are understood to have adopted a change of focus towards nuclear power amid the current crisis caused by rocketing global wholesale gas prices.

Rolls-Royce claims at least 16 plants could create 40,000 jobs by 2050 in the Midlands and the north of England.

But Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell has condemned the plans.

He said: “Nuclear power is neither safe nor reliable. The last thing we need is a backwards step towards the nuclear industry, which would cost hundreds of millions of pounds while leaving a toxic legacy for centuries.

“The Scottish Greens in government are doubling Scotland’s onshore wind capacity and developing new opportunities for marine renewables. These are the changes that will make a vital difference.

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“The truth is that the anti-climate Tories in Westminster cannot be trusted to do the right thing for the environment. That is why Scotland must have full control over our energy policy, so we can chart a different course and invest in our communities with lasting jobs and industries that have a future.”

David Phillips from the Institute for Fiscal Studies also warned last month that an independent Scotland would have to endure spending cuts or higher taxes.

He said: “The UK Government has also announced increases in income tax and corporation tax to help reduce its budget deficit in the medium-term.

“An independent Scotland would need to do the same and more – or be prepared to cut spending further – given that Scotland’s non-Covid spending is currently much higher than that in the rest of the UK while its revenues are not.

“Only in the unlikely event of a massive rebound in oil revenues or a rapid and large improvement in economic performance-boosting tax revenues could such measures be avoided.”

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