Anti-independence campaign accused of deliberately peddling false information


  By G.A.Ponsonby
The pro-Union Better Together campaign has been left red-faced yet again after it emerged that leaflets boasting about the UK’s triple-A rating were still being distributed.
Five weeks after credit agency Moody’s downgraded the UK’s credit rating, it has emerged that anti-independence campaigners are still handing out leaflets which declare – “Scots save billions on the cost of mortgages due to the UK’s AAA credit rating.”

The refusal by the Better Together campaign to withdraw the leaflets has led to the SNP accusing Unionists of deliberately peddling “false information”.

Commenting, SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said:

“The incompetence and incoherence of the anti-independence campaign knows no bounds. Originally they claimed this was an old leaflet – so why are they continuing to hand it out over five weeks after the UK’s triple-A rating was downgraded?

“Deliberately misleading the people of Scotland has left the No campaign’s credibility in tatters.  People will not only be asking if any of the other claims on their leaflets can be believed, but also why they are continuing to spread misleading information when they know it’s false.

“The anti-independence campaign were urged to pulp this fiction over five weeks ago when the claim was shown to be misleading.  We again urge them to do this.”

The UK’s credit rating has been one of the core arguments underpinning the anti-independence campaign.  Last October, Scottish Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander claimed the cost of borrowing in an independent Scotland would shoot up soon after it broke away from the UK.

“At the moment we are able to borrow at record low levels,” Mr Alexander told a Lords economic committee. “There is a very good question about what view the credit rating agencies take on a newly established country without any established fiscal track record and what rates would be paid on its new debt.”
Mr Alexander also claimed Scotland’s relatively small population size would make it less likely a Triple-A rating would be achieved, and suggested a newly independent Scotland would lose £1 billion.

However, almost two-thirds of the countries that currently hold triple-A status have populations of less than ten million, including Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

Mr Hosie added: “The people of Scotland deserve an honest and open debate in the run up to the referendum debate but so far the No camp has failed to deliver.

“Scotland has stronger public finances than the rest of the UK, with the most recent GERS figures showing that Scotland contributes 9.9 per cent of public revenues but receives 9.3% of public spending – demonstrating Scotland is financially stronger than the UK as a whole to the tune of £4.4 billion, or £824 per person.

“The record of our neighbours shows that small, well managed independent countries can have every expectation of enjoying the highest credit rating, and more importantly favourable bond yields.

“Scotland is in better financial shape than the UK as a whole, and a Yes vote on September 18th 2014 will enable us to build a strong economy and fair society with the powers of an independent Scotland.”

In February it emerged the UK Treasury had been forced to re-write an anti-independence paper following the downgrading of the UK’s credit rating.

According to the Scotsman newspaper, a Treasury document contained claims that an independent Scotland would be at risk of losing a triple-A credit rating.

However, following the downgrading by Moody’s of the UK’s triple-A rating to AA1, the document was having to be hastily re-written, minus the triple-A claims.

MEANWHILE, Scots tennis star Andy Murray has warned against making a “snap decision” on Yes or No to independence.

Speaking in Miami this weekend, the new world number two gave his own opinion on the referendum and suggested the economy was key.

“You need to figure out what’s best for the country and then come to an opinion,” he said. “I want to read more about the issue.  I don’t think you should judge the thing on emotion, but on what is best economically for Scotland.  You don’t want to come to a snap decision and then see the country go tits up.”