Nicola Sturgeon’s own economic advisor admits worry over splitting up UK

Alex Salmond warns of ‘international action’ for independence

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Professor Mariana Mazzucato, a member of the Scottish government’s Council of Economic Advisers, said it would “be a pity if the UK splits up.” Writing in the New Statesman, Professor Mazzucato claimed: “If you look at where growth would come from in Scotland on its own, it’s not clear whether it would be in a better or worse position.

“Already it’s a pity that they [Britain] got out of Europe in terms of being any sort of mighty force – even more so if you then split up the little that’s left.”

She claimed the “economies of scale and scope” were “stronger with the United Kingdom.”

But she made clear: “But if they have different strategies – if, for example, you have a Scotland, and I’m just saying theoretically, that really does believe in strengthening the welfare state, that does believe in inclusive growth, that does believe in public banks and England doesn’t – then, actually, maybe together it becomes more of a headache because it’s a constant battle.”

The Scottish First Minister conceded this week a second Scottish independence vote could be held while the country is still trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The SNP leader ruled out having a fresh ballot on the issue during the “acute phase of the pandemic”.

But having said already she would like to see a referendum take place in the first half of the next Holyrood term, Ms Sturgeon said that could happen “when we are clearly in the recovery phase”.

Opposition parties urged the Scottish First Minister to listen to her own advisors about the economic consequences of splitting from the UK.

Maurice Golden, Scottish Conservative Economy Spokesman, said: “When one of her own economic advisers admits they don’t want the Union to be broken up, Nicola Sturgeon should listen and stop prioritising plans for another reckless referendum.

READ MORE: SNP branches receive public COVID19 money from Scottish Government

“The crisis over the last year has shown the strength of the Union working together to protect Scotland.

“The furlough scheme from the UK Government protected almost a million jobs and Scots are benefitting every day from being part of the UK’s vaccine scheme.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives can stop an SNP majority and their plans for indyref 2 and get us fully focussed on our recovery and rebuilding our communities.”

Colin Smyth, Scottish Labour constitution spokesperson, said: “These comments from Mariana Mazzucato are unavoidable facts, but it is damning to hear them from the Scottish Government’s own economic adviser.

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“It is little wonder she is sceptical of the economic case for independence when nobody in the SNP can even tell Scots what currency we would use.

“This highlights just how reckless the SNP’s obsession with independence is. In the wake of this pandemic Scotland needs to unite around delivering a national recovery – not return to old arguments.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-Union group Scotland in Union, said: “The First Minister should listen to her own expert adviser.

“Splitting the UK would lead to deeper austerity, cuts to public services, and a hard border between friends and families.


“We are stronger together as part of the UK and the SNP should drop its obsession with independence and focus on uniting the country as we recover from Covid.”

Responding to the comments, Tom Arthur, SNP candidate for Renfrewshire South, said the comments made for “interesting reading.”

Mr Arthur added: “Scotland is fortunate and privileged to benefit from Mariana Mazzucato‘s advice.

“Her remarks on diverging policies and strategies between Westminster and Scotland make for interesting reading.

“That is already evident as the democratic deficit between Westminster and Holyrood widens, with the UK Government imposing an extreme Brexit that has hit jobs and businesses in Scotland, inflicting a decade of devastating austerity, and stripping powers from the Scottish Parliament – all against the will of the people of Scotland.

“In stark contrast, the SNP has put forward transformative policies to create a progressive and fairer society, including plans to double the Scottish Child Payment, a new National Care Service, a proper pay rise for our heroic NHS workers, 100,000 affordable homes, and devices for every school pupil, so no child misses out on learning.”

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