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Jobs potential for independent Scotland

A 'yes' vote in next year's referendum on independence will lead to greater long-term economic security, growth and job opportunities for Scotland, the First Minister Alex Salmond has claimed.

Setting out the economic policy options for an independent Scotland, Mr Salmond said that the current Westminster-run system had 'stifled' the country's economic potential.

In the paper 'Economic policy choices in an independent Scotland', Mr Salmond's Scottish National Party said its strategy for an independent Scottish economy would be based on:

  • Establishing an industrial strategy which rebalances the economy and diversifies Scotland's industrial base
  • Promoting participation in the labour market by delivering more efficient employability, welfare and skills programmes and transforming child care
  • Targeting measures to reduce outflow of labour and attract skilled workers
  • Using tax incentives to support growth in key sectors and target areas
  • Using carefully targeted tax measures, such as a reduction in corporation tax, to counterbalance the pull of London and the South East
  • Boosting the internationalisation and brand recognition of the Scottish economy, including reforming the structures that support trade.

These measures could deliver significant growth and job benefits:

  • A one per cent increase in Scotland's productivity performance has the potential to boost employment by around 21,000 over the long-term
  • A one per cent increase in Scotland's economic activity rate would be equivalent to an extra 30,000 plus people in the labour market
  • A 50 per cent increase in the value of Scottish exports could boost output by around £5 billion and create over 100,000 jobs in the long-term
  • The reduction in corporation tax is forecast to create approximately 27,000 jobs.

Speaking at the launch of the paper, Alex Salmond said:

"The one size fits all economic policies of successive Westminster Governments have failed and are continuing to fail the people of Scotland. We perform well at the moment but we should be doing so much better. A simple glance at many other European countries of similar size to Scotland, some without the natural advantages Scotland has, shows that we have lagged behind their growth rates for decades.

"Independence will give us with the chance to build an economy that takes advantage of Scotland's unique strengths and size to deliver a more outward focussed, fairer and resilient economy, boosting revenues and creating many thousands of more jobs."