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Scottish independence consequences investigated

A debate has been called for over the issues concerning potential Scottish independence, and whether or not this would benefit the country.

First Minister Alex Salmond wants to hold a referendum in autumn 2014.

UK Government ministers have made clear that there needs to be clarity on four main questions: what currency Scotland would take, what proportion of UK debt they would take responsibility for, the future of the armed forces, and whether border controls would have to be introduced.

Chancellor George Osborne suggested thatScotlandwould be poorer if it left theUK, and could have to switch currency to the Euro. As a new member of the EU, it could be under legal obligations to do so, as the opt-out negotiated by theUKwould not necessarily apply to an independentScotland.

Osborne said: “Alex Salmond has saidScotlandshould join the euro. That means giving up the pound. I think the people of Scotlandwould lose out in terms of the Scottish economy. I don’t thinkScotlandwould be as prosperous as it would be as part of the UK.

“If you look at the scale of the national debt, for example, that Scotland would have to take if it became independent, if you look at the fact it has an important banking industry as we know and you ask yourself ‘would Scotland alone have been able to bail out the Royal Bank of Scotland or Halifax of Scotland’.”

But a spokesman for Scottish finance secretary John Swinney said: “When all Scotland’s resources are included in our nation’s economic output, an independent Scotland would be ranked sixth in the world league tables of OECD nations in terms of gross domestic product per head – ten places ahead of the UK.”

AndScotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon told BBC One’s Question Time: “Scotlandis doing well and can do better with independence.Scotlandis not subsidised at all. Scotland pays its own way and I won't hear anything else.”

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