What will Scottish independence cost?

If a politician offered you a bigger state pension earlier, better benefits, more childcare and all without raising the amount of tax that would be taken from your pay packet, you'd jump at the chance to vote for them.

Which is why the Scottish National Party (SNP) blueprint for Scottish independence must look like manna from heaven for those unsure about how they're going to vote.

First minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has said there will be no need for increased taxes or spending cuts because Scotland will be able to spend its money how it wants and in the best interests of its people. However, he could be being over-optimistic about just how far the Scots' tax take will go – and some have accused him of living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks he can spend more without either spending less or taking in more.

Analysis by the Treasury in Westminster predicts that, despite Salmond's pledge not to take more out of the pockets of Scots, that taxes could in fact rise by £1,000 per person per year if it leaves the UK.

And before you point out that Westminster politicians are bound to be biased, its not the only one that is concerned with the SNP's economic case for leaving the UK.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said Scotland would need tax increases, spending cuts or both over the next 50 years in order to create a stable economy. It also has to factor in demographic changes, immigration rates, the oil running out and crucially how much debt it will inherit from the UK and subsequent interest payments.

The SNP has said the Treasury and the IFS are basing Scotland's economic outlook on their own 'failing policies'.

Unfortunately for Scotland what it has to remember is it is not starting with a clean sheet when it comes to becoming a new country, it has a history and its own economic hangover from the recession.

With a year to go until the vote on independence there is no doubt that there will be plenty more figures floated from both sides about the pros and cons and cost of independence. The bottom line is that in order to provide more to its citizens, a country has to find more money and that money isn't going to come from thin air or even Westminster, and SNP has to be honest about what its policies will cost.
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