SNP leader Alex Salmond has based his case for separation on the spurious assertion that Scotland can somehow leave the UK but retain all the benefits of membership. The implications of a Yes vote are a matter of guesswork for the Scottish economy.
It is however safe to forecast that a Yes vote will affect Scottish banks credit ratings and increase their regulatory and funding costs.
That in turn would mean the risk of increased mortgage costs in an independent Scotland with forecasts suggesting a rise in interest rates of between 0.72% to 1.65%.
Or call it £1,300 extra mortgage costs in the first year of an independent Scotland for the average Scots mortgage payer with a 75% loan.
Heaven help us if we endure another banking crisis. An independent Scotland would have a banking sector 12 times the size of the Scots economy.
When Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland came within hours of collapse in 2008, it was the strength of the entire UK that bailed out the banks and kept the ATMs in funds.
We all saw what happened in small countries such as Iceland and Ireland. As for Salmond’s currency plans in an independent Scotland, your guess is as good as mine.
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His plans have veered from currency union to Scotland joining the Euro at some future unspecified date to some form of so-called Panama plan, sometimes called sterlingisation.
All we need now is for the SNP to advocate that Scotland adopts Bitcoin as the official currency. At the last count the financial services industry in Scotland accounts for almost 200,000 jobs.
There has been a depressing lack of clarity from the banks. Lloyds’ chairman sat on the fence with the assertion recently that Lloyds ‘does not have a corporate view’ regarding the referendum, but then went on to say that a yes vote would create uncertainty relating to the compliance regime, tax regime and funding structure.
Roughly 1 in 5 workers in Scotland are employed by firms based in the rest of the UK.
A Mori survey of Scottish firms shows that almost three quarters of Scots employers think separation would have a negative impact on businesses in Scotland.
On this subject, trades unions and business are in agreement with six of the largest unions advocating a No vote.
As for pensions, there is the double whammy of large pension firms diverting funds from Scotland as a result of fears over the referendum vote plus the demographic timebomb of Scotland having more pensioners and less people working than in other parts of the UK.
For this writer-Scottish and staunchly unionist-it is to be hoped that the bookmakers have got it right. While the odds on a Yes vote have shortened, it is a small reassurance that the bookies continue to forecast a No vote.
It might however help sway a number of the Don’t Knows if the banks’ economic units released more of their research as to the true costs – as opposed to the SNP’s fairy tale forecasts – of Scotland divorcing from the union.