Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party says independent Scotland would not take on its fair share of UK debt


An independent Scotland should not have to pay its fair share of Britain’s national debt if it quits the UK, Alex Salmond’s new nationalist party has claimed.

Policy documents drawn up by Alba say that it ‘rejects entirely any obligation’ for the country to inherit a slice of the £1.8trillion if it secedes from the union in the future.

The statement puts the party at odds with Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, which before the 2014 referendum agreed an independent Scotland would take on a ‘negotiated and agreed’ share of the UK debt.

Mr Salmond, who was previously SNP leader, has urged his former party to adopt this stance on what Alba called a ‘clean break settlement’. 

It comes Nicola Sturgeon today rejected as ‘rubbish’ suggestions made by her opponents that an independent Scotland would not have been able to vaccinate its people against Covid as quickly as it has done.

Mr Salmond, who was previously SNP leader, has urged his former party to adopt this stance on what Alba called a ‘clean break settlement’.

The statement puts the party at adds with Nicola Sturgeon's (pictured today) SNP, which before the 2014 referendum agreed an independent Scotland would take on a 'negotiated and agreed' share of the UK debt.

The statement puts the party at adds with Nicola Sturgeon’s (pictured today) SNP, which before the 2014 referendum agreed an independent Scotland would take on a ‘negotiated and agreed’ share of the UK debt.

Ms Sturgeon today rejected as 'rubbish' suggestions made by her opponents that an independent Scotland would not have been able to vaccinate its people against Covid as quickly as it has done.

Ms Sturgeon today rejected as ‘rubbish’ suggestions made by her opponents that an independent Scotland would not have been able to vaccinate its people against Covid as quickly as it has done.

Scotland's First Minister said coronavirus vaccines are not a 'gift' from the UK Government to Scotland and are procured on a joint four-nations basis with Westminster and the devolved nations.

Scotland’s First Minister said coronavirus vaccines are not a ‘gift’ from the UK Government to Scotland and are procured on a joint four-nations basis with Westminster and the devolved nations.

Line of Duty star Martin Compston – who lives in Las Vegas – urges Scots to vote for the SNP

Line Of Duty star Martin Compston is at the centre of a Twitter storm today after encouraging Scots to back Nicola Sturgeon in the election. 

The actor urged Scots not to leave the outcome of Thursday’s election to chance, calling on them to back the SNP in the ballot.

 

But he became embroiled in a spat with Tory MPs and voters who accused the Greenock-born star of ‘hypocrisy’ because he now lives in Las Vegas (above) with his American wife. 

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser tweeted: ‘Another ‘celeb’ who doesn’t live here telling us how to vote.’

Compston clapped back, sharing a picture of a Tory campaign flyer sent to his home in Greenock, and hitting back at critics who accused him of being a ‘hypocrite’ and telling them how to vote. 

He said he pays ‘top rate tax in Scotland and always has,’ adding: ‘I see Scottish tory twitter and their bots enraged an actor would express an opinion. 

‘Apparently it isn’t valid either as they claim I don’t live here. In that case could you do me, the postman and the environment a favour and stop sending me literature asking for my vote.’

The Scottish actor, who stars as Steve Arnott in the hit BBC drama, made the plea in an online rally, which aired shortly before last night’s Line Of Duty finale.  

Compston was joined by other high-profile SNP supporters, including actors Alan Cumming and Brian Cox, crime writer Val McDermid and Mogwai musician Stuart Braithwaite. 

Alba announced the new policy after figures published in October last year showed the UK Government gross debt reaching more than £1,876 billion – in part because of massive spending to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Alba noted that ‘as a percentage of GDP the debt has doubled since the financial crisis of 2008 when the government and Bank of England embarked on wholesale quantitative easing’.

The policy – which was drawn up by economist and Alba Party Central Scotland candidate Jim Walker – stated: ‘That debt is largely owed by one branch of government (the Treasury) to another (the central bank) and therefore forms no legitimate liability for the Scottish or any other people.’

The party made clear it ‘rejects entirely any obligation to share debt accrued through central bank money printing and sees no role for Scotland on paying interest on that debt’.

Mr Salmond said: ‘Austerity and coronavirus has changed the economic world and changed it utterly. Thus the independence platform must adjust to the new realities.

‘They bring with them many new challenges but also great economic opportunities.’

By not taking on any share of UK debt, Alba argued an independent Scotland would be able to focus resources on a economic recovery programme, with the country ‘free from the shackles of UK debt, or even worse still paying billions of pounds to the UK Government in some bizarre annual subvention’.

The party wants Scotland to set up its own currency ‘as soon as possible’ after independence.

Meanwhile, Mr Salmond made clear that if the party succeeds in getting MSPs elected to Holyrood in Thursday’s election, the party will put forward a motion instructing the Scottish Government to start independence negotiations with Boris Johnson.

The former first minister said: ‘If the people of Scotland back Alba on Thursday, in the first week we will lay a motion instructing the Scottish Government to commence independence negotiations with the UK Government. Then the Scottish Parliament can get on with the job of delivering independence.’

He said to achieve this, Scotland would need ‘a refreshed independence platform’, adding that Alba’s new economic policy paper was a contribution to this ‘vital debate’.

Meanwhile, economist Dr Walker argued that it was ‘time that the economic benefits of independence were recast for the post-Brexit age’.

He stated: ‘Our policy set out today is Alba’s proposal and one which we would urge the newly elected Scottish Government to adopt in the independence negotiations which we will ask parliament to instruct them to commence with the UK Government.

‘Scotland’s position will be immeasurably stronger if we negotiate inclusively as a Parliament with a supermajority for independence, not as a single political party.’

It came as Ms Sturgeon made her own pitch for independence, saying claims that a self-governing Scotland would have been unable to produce coronavirus vaccines were ‘nonsense’.

Scotland’s First Minister said coronavirus vaccines are not a ‘gift’ from the UK Government to Scotland and are procured on a joint four-nations basis with Westminster and the devolved nations.

She was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme whether it was true that an independent Scotland would not have vaccinated 2.8million people, as has been done under the UK plan.

Ms Sturgeon replied: ‘I just think that is utterly nonsense.

‘The UK was still within the transition period when it procured the vaccine and that didn’t prevent it procuring the vaccine on a four-nations basis with England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, the way we procure the flu vaccine every year. That was done, nothing would have prevented that happening had we still been in the European Union.

‘And of course the delivery of the vaccination programme in Scotland is down to the sterling efforts and fantastic work of NHS Scotland vaccinators and teams across the country and they have my deep and everlasting appreciation for the fantastic work that they are doing.’

GMB presenter Sean Fletcher said the delivery of the vaccination in Scotland was also down to the ‘procurement of the UK Government getting those vaccines’.

Ms Sturgeon told him to ‘hold on’ and stressed procurement was on a four-nations basis.

She added: ‘We do it voluntarily on a four-nations basis. It’s not a gift from the UK Government to Scotland. We choose to pool our efforts in that way. We do it with the flu vaccine every year.

‘Scotland could if it chose procure the vaccine separately – health is devolved – but we chose to do it on a four-nations basis because it makes sense and if Scotland was independent it may well be that we still chose to do that.

‘So these arguments that we couldn’t do these things if we were independent, frankly, are nonsense and don’t stand up to any scrutiny whatsoever.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk