Has the UK Treasury tried to 'cook the books' over Scottish independence?

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has slammed the Treasury's latest economic estimates.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 22 Jul 2014

As the battle over Scottish independence intensifies, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has rubbished the latest Treasury fiscal analysis of independence and asked the UK government to withdraw its 'bogus' figures.

Today both Salmond and UK deputy finance minister Danny Alexander will present their latest findings on the costs of Scottish independence.

Alexander is expected to show Salmond's Scottish National Party has not fully budgeted for setting up a new administration. He will refer to figures compiled by the London School of Economics that suggest an independent Scotland might have to spend £2.7bn to establish the 180 public bodies needed to service the new state.

But Salmond says the Treasury has misrepresented research by the LSE and has called for the figures to be withdrawn.

'The Treasury have been caught red-handed trying to cook the books. This leaves the Treasury claims about Scotland's finances without a shred of credibility,' Salmond said. 'They should withdraw these bogus figures.'

Salmond will publish a rival report claiming that Scotland will be £5bn a year better off by 2029/2030 after a vote for independence. This will come from a 0.3% increase in Scotland's long run productivity growth rate, which could see tax revenues increase by £2.4bn, while increasing the employment rate by 3.3% would raise another £1.3bn a year by 2030.

However, Danny Alexander has dismissed claims that the Treasury should withdraw its figures. 'One of the frustrations here is that the nationalist government has not set out any costs at all of setting up a new state - they seem to assume it's free,' he told BBC Scotland.

Alexander has previously said an independent Scotland would face a higher tax burden than the rest of Britain because of its ageing population, lower immigration and steep forecast declines in tax revenue from the North Sea as oil becomes more expensive to extract.

The vote on whether to break Scotland's 307-year-old union with England will take place on September 18, and the economy is seen as central to the debate.

See the numbers crunched here.

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