News Column

Swinney's borrowing proposal generates new level of interest

June 17, 2014

I believe Finance Secretary John Swinney's proposal to borrow billions of pounds in the first three years after independence will be a positive step to kick-start the economy ("SNP will borrow billions to end austerity, says Swinney", The Herald, June 16). It attempts to reverse the effects of Chancellor Osborne's austerity programme caused by reckless banking operations. Keynesian economists have been saying that the way to move forward in one of capitalism's periodic crises is to build necessary infrastructure projects and create jobs.

First Minister Alex Salmond, at the beginning of this administration, asked the Westminster Government to borrow money for 300 shovel-ready projects and was refused. This is in contrast to Westminster's decision to borrow billions of pounds for the high- speed rail project supporting infrastructure development in London and the south-east. Therein lies the paradox of those who claim that we are better together. Efforts to develop the Scottish economy in a different way are stifled by a government invariably hostile to such efforts.

Some commentators have belittled the optimistic forecasts of the Yes Campaign and the Scottish Government but these are music to my ears. This next phase of our history could be one that reverses the decades of destruction of our manufacturing base and invests in our world renowned inventiveness.

Maggie Chetty,

36 Woodend Drive,

Glasgow.

John Swinney's announcement that Scotland would greatly increase borrowings in the years following independence shows that the SNP's economic policy has left the realms of "project naive" to become "project kamikaze".

As a small, newly independent state with an insecure currency, it is generally accepted by economists and academics that Scotland's credit rating would be significantly poorer than the current rate for the UK. On that basis alone, Mr Swinney should surely understand the recklessness of such a gung-ho borrowings policy.

The Yes Scotland campaign insists we are a hugely wealthy country just waiting to happen, once freed from the shackles of Westminster, yet it advocates policies that will trap us in a mire of debt for generations to come.

Out of this comes a sobering thought that every wavering voter should consider: when we have to go, cap in hand, to the EU or IMF in five years and accept their stringent austerity plans as part of the inevitable bail-out package, just how independent will we really be?

Derek Miller,

Westbank, West Balgrochan Road,

Torrance.

There will be those who will regard John Swinney's plans as sensible to kick-start the Scottish economy post independence. Others will criticise it as badly timed profligacy. There have always been those against public spending cuts while others like me consider current UK economic policy appropriate to the occasion. What Mr Swinney's pronouncement does, of course, is show what may be possible in an independent country that runs its own economic affairs and is a positive contribution to the debate. However, it is also a diversion because we are not being asked to vote for Mr Swinney's proposals. We are not being asked to vote for the SNP. We are being asked whether Scotland should be an independent country.

Tim Purdon,

18 Howard Park Drive,

Kilmarnock.

Surely Finance Secretary John Swinney is being a touch over- ambitious or even reckless to promise to borrow billions of pounds to combat austerity during the first few years of an independent Scotland. We don't even know if Scotland will have the pound, the merk or even the eck. I am no financial genius but having seen the massive rates of interest which Greece, Italy and Spain had to pay for their borrowings during the global economic crisis, I can't help feeling that Scotland, a new country on probation and with no "AAA" credit rating, would struggle to pay the debt without huge tax rises. There would be no Bank of England nor European Central Bank to provide a safety net.

Bob MacDougall,

Oxhill, Kippen.

Excellent news. Scotland will borrow an extra pound(s)2.4bn in one year alone to fund the cost of independence. We too can live like the Greeks. Financial ruin, costly bail-out, but in our case without the sunshine. So, more like the Republic of Ireland?

Carole Ford,

132 Terregles Avenue,

Glasgow.


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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)


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