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Transition Costs (Independence)

Volume 583: debated on Wednesday 2 July 2014

6. What discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on the transition costs of an independent Scotland. (904533)

I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues, to ensure that people in Scotland have the full facts about the economic consequences of independence. The Scottish Government have repeatedly refused to publish their own workings. I call on them today to publish the work they have carried out.

I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. The Scottish Government’s own Finance Secretary calculated, in an internal memo, that the cost of setting up a new tax authority alone would be some £650 million. Is it not right that the Scottish Government should give that and other, similar information they have to the Scottish people before asking them to vote for a pig in a poke?

It is worth reflecting that that figure is in the public domain only because the document was leaked. The truth of the matter is that, whenever there is any difficult news to be had, the Scottish Government will go to any lengths to suppress it, because, frankly, they are prepared to tell us anything that they think will make us more likely to vote for independence.

13. With the renovation costs of the Westminster Parliament expected to be £400 million a year every year for 10 long years, Professor Patrick Dunleavy said yesterday at the London School of Economics that the set-up costs for an independent Scotland would be £200 million and not the £1.5 billion that is on the Treasury website. Will the Secretary of State see to it that that figure is corrected and that the Westminster Government apologises both to Professor Dunleavy, an expert in this area for 30 years, and to the people of Scotland for that error and misinformation? [Interruption.] (904540)

The hon. Gentleman is out of date. I can tell him exactly what Professor Dunleavy said yesterday:

“Scotland’s voters can be relatively sure that total transition costs over a decade will lie in a restricted range, from 0.4 of one per cent of GDP (£600 million), up to a maximum of 1.1 per cent (£1,500 million). This is a step forward in debate”.

He was agreeing with Professor Iain McLean and said:

“I am grateful to Iain for helping to bring it out.”

The hon. Gentleman should also be grateful.