And Professor David Blake said Scotland’s First Minister will not be able to rely on the European Union to bail the newly independent nation out – while stressing it could take anything up to a decade to join in the first place. The Professor of Economics at City, University of London outlined his arguments in a new paper published on the Briefings for Brexit website entitled: The Fantasy Economics behind the case for Scottish independence, published barely three weeks before Scottish Parliament elections in which current polls suggest the SNP is likely to gain an overall majority.
In his report he outlines the multiple economic and social benefits of remaining in the UK, including the redistribution of wealth resulting from the so-called Barnett formula, under which public spending per person north of the border was £11,566 in 2019/20, 17 percent higher than the UK average.
He also emphasises the current ease of trading with the rest of the UK for a country which relies heavily on international trade, and the risk sharing in the financial and COVID-19 crises.
By contrast, Prof Blake points out the costs and uncertainty associated with leaving the UK and rejoining the EU, including the requirement for a volatile independent currency, the higher cost of mortgages and the opposition of certain countries, such as Spain, to Scotland’s membership.
Prof Blake told Express.co.uk: “The view is that if Nicola says it will be fine, then we believe her.
“They want to see her at the big round table in Brussels, sitting between France and Germany, running Europe – without the English.
“Even if they had the same low level of vaccination as in the rest of Europe, they wouldn’t care – Nicola would protect them.
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“But it’s a tartan fantasy. There is no way that being in the EU can compensate for the increased trading costs with the UK, the loss of Barnett funding, and the end of UK Government procurement contracts.
“No UK Government is going to continue to build Royal Navy ships in Scotland when shipyards in RUK are crying out for business.”
Using figures from business data platform Statista, Prof Blake estimates independence will result in a permanent £26bn reduction in GDP per annum (15 percent of GDP) and saddle Scotland with £300bn in debt (200 percent of GDP).
He added: “This means Scotland is Greece without the sun.
“But does it matter? Not at all, Nicola can easily sort this out.
“With this kind of attitude in Scotland, anything is now possible.”
Prof Blake said: “It will still take Scotland anything between five and 10 years before it joins the EU.
“During that period, Scotland has to live with a £26bn per annum reduction in GDP and carry £300bn in debt – but still maintain some of the best free social welfare benefits in the world.”
Ipsos Mori’s poll for STV News published this week, based on interviews with 1,038 people living in Scotland aged 16 and over between March 29 and April 4, suggests the SNP will pick up 70 seats on May 6.
Ms Sturgeon has vowed to use a majority to put pressure on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow another independence referendum, just seven years after the last one.