Did we really need to vote on Scottish independence?

If Scotland wanted more tax powers, we only had to tweak the rules

Scotland Prepares For Independence Vote

The future of Britain hangs in the balance as the Scottish independence vote closes in, but did we really need to risk the make-up of the UK so Scotland can have control over its own income and taxes?

Because, at the end of the day, the Scottish independence argument seems to come down to one thing: money. Scotland wants to operate as its own country, taking in taxes from its own people and paying them out however it pleases.

To a certain extent it already has some autonomy over how public money is spent north of the border but SNP leader Alex Salmond (and his supporters) want more control - and he's already being offered it, without the need to split the country in half.

What's been offered?

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all offered concession to Scotland providing its stays. The Conservatives have offered 71.7% control of taxation by Westminster and the remaining falling to Scotland – meaning it would have control over 28.3% of taxes, including income tax rates and banks.

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Labour has offered Scotland 20% control over income tax with an ability to raise income tax by several percentage points, but not lower it beyond UK rates. The Lib Dems have offered the best deal (probably because they know they won't be in Parliament to enforce it) with Scotland taking 40% control of taxation.

These deals may be the middle ground for a semi-independent Scotland and could be arranged under current legislation, so it's a shame that a deal wasn't struck before the country was pushed to the brink by a vote.

The 'no' campaign offers are arguably a better deal for households in Scotland, although not for Salmond.

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Household impact

In the excitement of the vote, the true impact on Scottish households seems to have been sidelined. Mortgage repayments could increase and lenders are likely to refuse to switch current loans to a new Scottish currency – meaning currency fluctuations could result in higher repayments and even negative equity.

As for workplace pensions, workers could be asked to pay in more to their scheme to ensure it is fully funded. Workplace schemes that operate across two countries – England and Scotland – cannot run a deficit meaning pensions could become unsustainable, close down, workers expected to pay in more, and even threaten the future of some companies.

For private pensions, the cost of red tape and new regulations would mean another layer of cost for pension providers that will inevitably be passed on to consumers as a worse deal for all, whichever side of the border you live on.
Read more:
What happens if Scotland votes yes

Scotland economy stronger in UK

RBS and Lloyds plan Scotland exit
Analyzing the Implications of Scottish Independence