Scottish independence: The issues that will decide the vote

There are barely two months to go before the vote that could grant Scotland an independent future, reversing more than three centuries of history and breaking up the United Kingdom

Currency

In February, George Osborne ruled out a currency union with an independent Scotland with the words: “If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the UK pound.”

The Chancellor’s unbending stance also has the backing of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

However, the Yes campaign insists that an independent Scotland would keep the pound and has dismissed Westminster’s rhetoric as scaremongering campaign tactics.

An unnamed UK Government minister has been quoted as saying that a currency union would probably form part of a “highly complex series of negotiations” between Westminster and Edinburgh in the event of a Yes vote, while the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has said he would be prepared to hold talks on the subject.

The most likely scenario is that such negotiations will occur – but Alex Salmond may have to offer something in return for getting the currency he wants, such as retreating on his pledge to cut corporation tax for Scottish-based businesses.

Read more: Salmond accuses PM of playing ‘roulette’ with Scotland’s future
Alex Salmond: Vote Yes to secure Scotland’s prosperity within the EU

Employment and welfare

According to the white paper Scotland’s Future, many of the UK Coalition Government’s key welfare policies – such as the bedroom tax and Universal Credit – would be abolished post-independence.

Supporters of the Yes campaign point to the fact that 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voted against the introduction of the bedroom tax as a sign that the country should set its own welfare policies.

Alex Salmond has said that independence would create a boom in jobs in Scotland, fuelled by a cut in corporation tax that would allow cities north of the border to compete with London. Even a 1 per cent increase in productivity could create 23,000 new jobs in the long term, he has said.

However, some industries have claimed that independence would provoke a jobs exodus. The British Defence Minister Philip Hammond has said that thousands of jobs at military bases would be at risk after a Yes vote, concerns echoed by defence firm BAE Systems.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research, meanwhile, has warned that between 20,000 and 40,000 jobs in the financial services sector will move to England if Scotland breaks away.

Pensions

The Yes campaign has said that all state and public sector pensions in an independent Scotland will continue to be paid as before. But Gordon Brown warned in April that since the number of Scottish pensioners is expected to rise by 300,000 in the next two decades (faster than the rest of the UK), a future independent administration could find itself struggling to pay the higher bill.

In its white paper, the Scottish government said the state pension age would rise to 66 in 2020 in line with the rest of the United Kingdom, after which time an independent commission would be appointed to examine the issue.

How private sector pensions would adapt is less clear. The Yes campaign say there would be little change as they are “a private matter between individuals and their pension providers”, but the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland has expressed concerns that there is no certain plan for how they would be managed under a new Scottish regulator.

Business

Various big companies have voiced opinions about Scottish independence, most notably Standard Life, which said in February it had drawn up contingency plans to leave the country post-independence if necessary.

Lloyds Banking Group has also said it may have to move its registered offices to London in the wake of a Yes vote, while the heads of energy companies BP and Shell have also voiced concerns.

However, most companies have either chosen to remain neutral on the subject or say they cannot predict what affect it will have – while others are pro-independence for specific reasons. Ryanair and British Airways are positive about proposed cuts in Air Passenger Duty in an independent Scotland, for example.

Credit ratings agencies such as Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s have predicted that Scotland’s economy would run the risk of being downgraded immediately after independence, but that it could attain higher ratings further down the line.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballLatest scores and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
Voices
voices
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad