By Ben Borland
Two thirds of Scots would vote in favour of independence if it were to make them just £500 a year better off, a remarkable new poll has found.
Figures due to be published tomorrow show the price of breaking up the Union and ending more than 300 years of shared history and culture is a relatively modest £42 a month – or £1.37 a day.
The nationwide poll will reveal that 65 per cent would back independence if it meant that everyone would be slightly wealthier. In contrast, only 21 per cent would vote in favour it meant they were £500 a year worse off.
The figures underline the importance of winning the economic argument on separation ahead of a referendum vote.
A senior SNP source last night claimed that Scots would in fact be £1,000 a year better off under independence – although the figures are hotly disputed by Unionist parties.
First Minister Alex Salmond has launched a new campaign to persuade voters that they would be financially better off going it alone
The source said: “Scotland puts far more into the London exchequer than we get back in return.
“The latest official figures show that Scotland generates 9.4 per cent of UK tax revenues compared with our 8.4 per cent of the population – the equivalent of £1,000 extra for every man, woman and child in Scotland, or double the figure referred to here.
“It all adds up to a winning case for independence.”
The Scottish Social Attitudes survey is expected to provide the clearest picture yet of the support for independence after the SNP’s landslide election victory. Last year, it found just 23 per cent wanted to break up the UK although a majority wanted more powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Meanwhile, First Minister Alex Salmond has launched a new campaign to persuade voters that they would be financially better off going it alone. A “pocket guide to independence” is being distributed to 500,000 homes across Scotland promising what was described last night as a “great tax giveaway”.
It suggests Air Passenger Duty, the £2.6billion a year levy due to increase by 10 per cent from April, would be reduced “to encourage more direct flights from Scotland”.
An independent Scotland would also “remove the discriminatory duty on whisky” and introduce tax breaks for the creative industries and other key Scottish employers.
The brochure also refers to the Scottish Government’s desire to reduce corporation tax, stating that 27,000 new jobs could be generated by a three per cent cut. Benefits such as pensions, tax credits and job seekers’ allowance would become “better”, with the aim to “eradicate poverty” and reward people like unpaid carers.
North Sea oil and gas revenues, meanwhile, would be ploughed into a revenue fund that would be invested for the future and accrue “tens, if not hundreds, of billions of pounds”.
However, Gavin Brown MSP, finance spokesman for the Scottish Tories, described the figures as “flat earth economics”.
He said: “It is a great tax giveaway. Anyone who understands mathematics will realise if you are going to give lots of stuff away it does somehow have to be paid for, whether by increasing taxes elsewhere or by cutting spending.
“All that appears to be missing is the line that says free milk and honey for everyone.”
He added Scottish ministers can already help whisky distillers, creative industries and air passengers through measures like business rates and the air route development fund, which was scrapped.
The brochure is part of the new “Your Scotland, Your Future” campaign, which also features a video with a message from the First Minister and a recording of Bryan Ferry’s hit Let’s Stick Together. There is also a website, Facebook and Twitter pages and a new slogan – “It’s Starting”.
It marks the beginning of the SNP’s independence drive.
Courtesy of the Scottish Sunday Express
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