A new ‘Growth Commission’ has been set up by the SNP with a specific aim of providing a blueprint for a stable economy in an independent Scotland.
The fourteen-strong panel, which will be chaired by former MSP, Andrew Wilson, includes senior figures from business, economics, politics and academia. It will draw, where appropriate, on externally commissioned research and expertise.
The Commission will assess the projections for Scotland’s economy and public finances, consider the implications for the economy and finances of different potential governance scenarios, and make recommendations for policy on:
- Measures to boost economic growth and improve Scotland’s public finances – both now in the aftermath of the EU referendum and in the context of independence;
- The potential for and best use of savings from UK programmes in the event of independence, such as Trident;
- The range of transitional cost and benefits associated with independence and arrangements for dealing with future revenue windfalls, including future North Sea Revenues.
In addition, the Commission will take account of the recommendations of the 2013 Fiscal Commission reports, and the outcome of the EU referendum, and consider the most appropriate monetary policy arrangements to underpin a programme for sustainable growth in an independent Scotland.
Commenting, Andrew Wilson said: “It is my sincere hope that should Scotland be asked to choose again on independence, this project ensures that we all have as sound, transparent and firm a prospectus as any country facing such a choice has ever had,”
He added: “We need to think ambitiously, inclusively and differently.”
The announcement of the commission follows increased speculation on the likelihood of a second independence referendum. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already said a second referendum is “very likely” following the Brexit result which will see Scotland dragged out of the European Union despite voting overwhelmingly to remain.
The SNP argues that the resultant economic and social upheaval and damage to international relationships is a material risk to the economy and the wellbeing of Scotland’s citizens. Nicola Sturgeon has insisted independence is one of the options open to the people of Scotland to choose a different course – to protect Scotland’s place in the EU.
The announcement of the commission comes on the eve of the second anniversary of the 2014 indyref vote. This weekend thousands of Yes supporters are expected to descend on Glasgow to mark the second anniversary of the 2014 referendum which saw Scotland vote to remain part of the UK by 55% to 45%. Events will take place on Saturday and Sunday with rallies, conferences and speeches organised.