Yes and No camps in cost estimates

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Competing estimates of the costs and savings of Scottish independence will be set out today as the Scottish and UK governments outline their visions for the nation’s constitutional future.

The Scottish Government is expected to set out several billion pounds of savings if assets such as embassies and defence equipment cannot be shared after independence.

Meanwhile, the UK Treasury will call on the Scottish Government to provide estimates for the cost of independence as it prepares to publish its own price tag for a Yes vote.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the Scottish Government’s latest assessment of the strength of Scotland’s economy, Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “Scotland will start life as an independent nation with access to our own wealth and a key stake in the £1.3 trillion of assets built up by the UK and funded by Scottish taxpayers.

“Everyone in Scotland has contributed to this £1.3 trillion stockpile of UK assets and Scotland is entitled to a fair share, giving us an even stronger base to build on.

“These assets include buildings and property, but also payments due to the UK Government and a share of UK Government investments.

“In the case of physical assets overseas or defence assets that cannot be transferred or shared with Scotland, then the result will be for Scotland to receive a cash share of their value or to see our share of UK debts reduced.

“The UK Government is very keen to talk about the debt we have built up or to invent costs, but rarely talks about the assets that have been accumulated and for which Scotland has paid.

“An independent Scotland will start life with a healthy budget and a strong economy that can only be made stronger by putting the tools we need to create wealth in the hands of the people of Scotland.”

The Treasury said its paper will put a figure on the amount which will be saved by people in Scotland if it “avoids the public spending cuts and tax rises that an independent Scottish state would have to undertake, in order to offset the fiscal impacts of independence by 2035/6”.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: ”The Scottish Government is trying to leave the UK but it won’t tell anyone how much the set-up surcharge is for an independent Scotland.

“As part of the UK, Scotland gains from a strong and stable tax and benefits system and our comprehensive analysis, published this week, sets out how much better-off Scottish taxpayers are; that’s why we’re better off together.”

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