Bob Lyddon, founder of Lyddon Consulting Services Limited, believes Boris Johnson should call Nicola Sturgeon‘s bluff by offering to cut the nation loose to see how it fares on its own. And he predicted after independence, high levels of current public spending would crash to well below the current average UK level. Mr Lyddon has written two separate analyses examining the issue of Scottish independence, ‘Why Scotland must keep the pound – and why it can’t’, published in advance of the 2014 referendum, and ‘The Smith Commission – buying the Great SNP Bluff’, published in 2015, in reference to the document published afterwards intended to offer Scotland more devolved powers.
In these papers, Mr Lyddon set out key reasons why he believes Scotland is ill-equipped to go it alone.
And with recent polls suggesting high levels of support for Scottish independence, he warned those living north of the border needed to think very carefully about the way forward.
Mr Lyddon told Express.co.uk: “Westminster’s stance towards the SNP – appeasement – has failed.
“Instead it has strengthened the SNP’s jingoism and its apparent popularity amongst Scottish voters.
“All the SNP have done during the coronavirus crisis is to stoke division with the rest of the UK, demand more money, and make themselves more popular.
Boris Johnson should call Nicola Sturgeon’s bluff, said Bob Lyddon
Reserves of North Sea oil and gas have declined sharply
“If they are that brilliant at everything, we should offer to cut them loose and straight away.
“We paid Danegeld to make the Danes go away, and they didn’t. We pay Scotsgeld to keep Scotland in the UK and they don’t want to.
“Let’s try a new version: Scotland can go if they want, but without any Scotsgeld.”
Mr Lyddon said Scotland currently makes extensive use of Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) to rack up huge debts which he warned will inevitably fall back on the UK taxpayer.
In addition, reserves of North Sea oil and gas – something the SNP has made much of in setting out its case for independence – have largely dried up.
Nicola Sturgeon with then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
If they are that brilliant at everything, we should offer to cut them loose and straight away
Mr Lyddon, citing Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS), an annual estimate of the Scottish economy as part of the United Kingdom, said: “Scotland is an economic basket case which has escaped the austerity meted out to the rest of the UK.
“It has hardly reduced its deficit compared to 2014 when the UK as a whole has cut its by 75 percent.
“The UK’s 2019 deficit was only one percent of the size of its economy when Scotland’s was seven percent.
“Scotland’s superior public services come about thanks to the transfer of the ‘Union dividend’ from the rest of the UK. In 2019 it was nearly £2,000 per person, or £10.6 billion.
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Scotland benefits from higher than average spending per capita
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister
“Scotland’s annual economic output per head is £600 lower than the UK average, but public spending is nearly £2,000 higher.
“After independence, Scotland might not be able to afford public spending per head even of the current UK average or £11,865, 14 percent less than the SNP can spend now.”
Mr Lyddon said the SNP’s financial projections had also failed to factor in the inevitable exodus of its financial services sector which would happen as a result of independence, and which he said would radically expand the deficit between any decision to leave the UK and actual independence.
He added: “Scotland’s financial services sector is mainly about administering English pensions. No English saver would allow their money to come within the grasp of the SNP.
“Scotland’s need for new tax revenues after independence would be desperate: what better target to plunder than the English pension monies being administered in Scotland.”
Pro-independence campaigners in the 2014 referendum
Nor was there any guarantee an independent Scotland would be permitted to join the European Union, Mr Lyddon said, especially given it does not possess its own independent currency.
He explained: “Scotland’s economy does not even meet the EU’s admission criteria; the GERS figures show that it does not have ‘sustainable public finances and external accounts’.
“Contrary to SNP assertions, Scotland would need an extended period of painful adjustment before getting into the EU.
“Then it would be compelled to converge with the Euro, and its economic indicators are even further away from the Euro criteria. Another decade of pain to look forward to.”
Scotland does not have its own currency
Mr Lyddon said: “We must start tracking Scotland’s disproportionate contribution to the increasing national debt, not just now but going right back to the 2008 financial crisis.
“If Scotland can be gotten off the payroll within a year or two, maybe we can let them just take on a share of the national debt pro-rated to Scotland’s population, although that would unfair to the rest of the UK.
“Scotland has suffered zero impact from the bailout of its banks by England in 2008: all that burden fell elsewhere.”
Express.co.uk has approached the SNP for a response to Mr Lyddon’s comments.