Nicola Sturgeon admitted her economic plan for independence was now “completely obsolete” due to the pandemic and Brexit.
The SNP leader admitted that figures in the party’s 2018 Growth Commission report were no longer reliable and said no new analysis would be carried out until the eve of a second independence referendum campaign.
She told Channel 4 News: âThe figures in the Growth Commission report predate Covid and we will need to factor in the changes around Covid.
âAlthough the underlying approach of the Growth Commission is one that I fully subscribe to and subscribe to, the figures it contains are completely outdated.
âBecause since the publication of this publication we have suffered a global pandemic, the budgetary situation of the UK and most of the world has been in upheaval. “
The Commission for Sustainable Growth was drafted by the former SNP MSP who became head of public relations agency Andrew Wilson following the Brexit vote in 2016.
The SNP’s manifesto for the Holyrood elections says the party would attempt to hold a second referendum by the end of 2023, if re-elected.
He listed spending commitments in his manifesto, estimated at over Â£ 17 billion.
Sturgeon told reporter Peter Smith in an interview with ITV that if Scotland were to become an independent country, it would still meet spending commitments over the next five years.
Sturgeon also hinted that his economic strategy was based on the Scottish Government’s medium-term financial strategy, which was based on the growth in devolved taxes over the next few years and other estimates from the Scottish Tax Commission and the OBR.
Peter Smith pointed out to Sturgeon that his current plan was to “have his cake and eat it” in reference to his speech on Ireland, which has pledged to use the euro and has a central bank and does not spend money. billion for the universal NHS.
She refuted Smith’s argument that the financial plans for independence would be “based on an assumption” that the block grant to Scotland’s budget would increase by 14% while tax growth was 20%. .
She said: âThe overall budget is actually slowed down by the growth of the block grant. Most countries are in deficit. The UK has a debt of two trillion pounds and it is not uncommon for a country to be in debt and deficit. How you manage this determines your priorities and determines the success of the economy. “
âThere are tough times ahead for whatever is going on right now because we are in a global pandemic and we are on the cusp of coming out and recovering. There are difficult times ahead for every country. We would like to be able to grow our economy rather than going through austerity cuts. “
However, independent economists argued that Sturgeon failed to recognize that the block grant would cease to exist and that Scotland would have to fund it itself if it became an independent country. And that, he would not have the reserves to do it.
Scottish MP Alistair Carmichael, deputy leader of the Scottish Lib Dem, said Nicolas Sturgeon was again failing on the economics of independence.
He said: âThe SNP failed to establish a credible economic prospectus in 2014 and now it is doing it again.
“It’s the kind of terrible movie that’s going to be repeated on TV. We’ve watched this before. We already know how it’s going to end.
“It’s time to change channels. It’s time to end the divisions. It’s time to put recovery first.”
A study published in February claimed that the country’s economy would be two to three times worse off from independence than from Brexit.
The London School of Economics (LSE) has said independence for the UK will cost the Scottish economy two to three times as much in trade losses as Brexit.
A report by a team of academics from the LSE’s Center for Economic Performance also argued that Scotland’s EU membership would make little difference.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has said it will continue with a referendum if it obtains a majority in the Scottish Parliament in the elections scheduled for May 6.
The LSE report said Brexit would reduce Scotland’s long-term per capita income by 2%, but independence would reduce income by 4.5-6.7%, even if an independent Scotland remained in a ” common market ‘with the rest of the UK.
However, the report’s authors said these are likely to be underestimated as productivity would be affected.
The concession also comes after the Tom Hunter Foundation released a report saying sweeping and ambitious policy changes are needed if Scotland’s economic performance is to be transformed over the next 15 years.
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