Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Treasury not to be trusted: Salmond

Nicola Sturgeon says the UK Government's economic policies have been holding Scotland back for generations

A claim that the UK Treasury deliberately undervalued Scotland's oil in the 1970s to head off the threat of nationalism is evidence that it cannot be trusted in the independence campaign, according to the First Minister.

Former Labour chancellor Denis Healey reportedly told Holyrood magazine his Treasury "did underplay the value of the oil to the country because of the threat of nationalism", and suggested the present Treasury is "worried stiff" that independence could deprive them of the remaining reserves.

This is evidence that "the Scottish people are not to believe the Treasury in 2014", the First Minister said at the launch of a new paper entitled Scotland's Economy: The Case For Independence.

The latest Scottish Government paper comes the day after the UK Government published a report raising concerns that savers and financial institutions could be hit under plans for independence.

The independence campaign has also faced criticism from a former leading figure in the SNP, ex-deputy leader Jim Sillars, who said that the "professionals" in the UK Government and Better Together "seem to be knocking seven bells out of the amateurs" in the SNP administration and Yes Scotland.

The First Minister launched his latest paper at bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis in Falkirk on Tuesday, saying that the company is a microcosm of Scotland's potential under independence.

Alexander Dennis group corporate affairs director Bill Simpson praised the First Minister's "exciting" vision for Scotland but warned that the road to success is "a consistent long, hard journey and you have to walk the talk every single day".

Mr Salmond said the road to the referendum "is a marathon, not a sprint" and predicted that the yes campaign "will gain strength as we move towards September 2014".

"We have some surprising allies," he said. "Just this weekend Denis Healey casually admitted that 'of course the Treasury underestimated the extent of Scotland's oil and gas resources because they didn't want people to vote for the SNP'.

"When you get to Dennis Healey's age you don't mind telling the truth, and he said of course Scotland could prosper as an independent country. When we get our previous opponents admitting the truth and the reality, then that is an important aspect of the debate."

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