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Thursday 13th December 2012 | 18:55
SNP press release
Reacting to reports this evening that Standard and Poor’s have put the UK’s AAA credit rating on “negative outlook” – the last of the three main ratings agencies to do so – The SNP have questioned the No campaign’s arguments over the rating an independent Scotland would receive.
Senior figures in the UK government have recently begun expressing the view that the credit rating is unimportant, and that a downgrade would not affect the mortgages and borrowing costs paid by individuals.
Embarrassingly for the No campaign and the UK Government, these comments downplaying the importance of the UK’s triple-A rating come just weeks after Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander attempted to whip up fears over what credit rating an independent Scotland would have.
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.
Scotland has stronger public finances than the rest of the UK, with the most recent GERS figures showing that Scotland contributes 9.6% of public revenues but receives 9.3% of public spending. The SNP Government has balanced Scotland’s budget in every single year since 2007 while the oil & gas sector boosted the UK’s balance of trade by £40 billion. On an internationally comparable basis Scotland’s share of UK debt in 2010 would have been 64% of GDP, compared to the UK’s 76%, the EU’s 80% and the G7’s 114%.
Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:
“The ill-judged comments that anti-independence politicians have readily engaged in are really coming back to haunt them now.
“The UK government has failed to learn the lessons of economic history, and has taken the wrong approach to the recession. First we heard how important it was to cut the deficit and pay off debt to avoid a downgrade. Now - with austerity in the UK projected to last at least six more years - we are told that ratings are unimportant.
“The No campaign can’t have it both ways - the scaremongering simply doesn’t stack up and is unravelling. Not only is there no reason why Scotland - with a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK and a clear record of strong fiscal management - wouldn’t secure the highest rating, but they now expect us to believe it doesn’t matter for the UK.
“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 a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK, and that is a positive starting point from which to grow and develop the economy of an independent Scotland.”