A newly independent Scotland could face ‘difficult years’ financially, an academic has predicted.
Professor John Bryson of the University of Birmingham – an expert in business and economic geography – used the economic track record of a newly independent Ireland as a model of how Scotland would fare if it ever votes to leave the United Kingdom.
The professor said it could take Scotland 30 to 60 years to reach a prosperous fiscal position, with the intervening period marked by falling living standards and public services.
“The Scottish Government should recognize that post-independence would involve a long period of adjustment,” he wrote in an analysis of the Scottish Government’s recent paper on Scotland’s post-independence economy.
“I would say it should take between one or two generations, or between 30 and 60 years.
“These will be difficult years in which living standards and the provision of public services will decline as Scotland negotiates a new future with Britain and with other trading partners.
“Building a new Scotland will initially require cutbacks which will result in a decline in the provision of public services.”
The issues around the Scotland-England border, the academic said, “will take decades to resolve”, while the document’s prospectus is unworkable “this decade”.
Prof Bryson stressed the importance of a ‘rigorous and balanced assessment’ of Scotland’s post-independence economy, adding that the paper must ‘prove a much more balanced assessment of Scotland’s post-independence paths’.
He added: “The current Scottish Government should recognize that breaking with the UK would be difficult and there would be immediate economic and public service consequences, and that adjustments would occur over decades rather than years. “
The document set out some plans for the currency, borders and borders of an independent Scotland and more details of a proposed £20 billion capital fund to be set up in the first decade after independence.
Speaking from Bute House, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who admitted that independence did not guarantee the country’s economic prosperity, said: ‘Fundamentally, we argue in this article that a stronger, fairer and more enduring is more possible for Scotland with independence than it ever will be with continued Westminster control.
The document detailed the government’s proposals for the creation of a separate Scottish pound, but the Prime Minister repeatedly refused to give a timetable for the changeover to the new currency.