Fact: Scotland would be a new country. We wouldn’t inherit all the international deals the UK has struck over many years, decades, and even centuries (everything from extradition and trade treaties to the International Declaration Prohibiting the Discharge of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons). So we’d have to start from scratch, negotiating to join everything from the UN to Nato.
2. Myth: We’ll still play the National Lottery and share much-loved national institutions with the UK
Fact: It’s called the National Lottery – not the International Lottery. You can’t buy a ticket in France, so why would it run in an independent Scotland? The same goes for everything from the Met Office to the benefits system. We’d have to spend millions setting up new institutions.
3. Myth: We’ll be an EU member (and inherit the same terms and conditions that the UK currently enjoys)
Fact: We’d have to apply as a new state and negotiate entry – it’s hard to imagine it would be an easy process (look at how long it took Croatia to join - almost eight years), and even harder to imagine that we’d be given advantageous terms (like the UK rebate or opt-outs, including from the Euro).
5. Myth: We wouldn’t have to bailout our banks – international investors bailed them out before
Fact: During the last crisis the UK taxpayer shelled out £66 billion to bail out the banks – more than £1,000 for every man, woman and child in the UK. Including guarantees, UK taxpayers gave more than £320 billion of support to Royal Bank of Scotland alone. Could we really afford these sorts of sums on our own?
6. Myth: The answers are in the independence white paper and it all adds up
Fact: The white paper does not answer the key questions. Many of the independence plans, for example on currency and EU membership, are in the hands of foreign governments who would be acting in the interests of their own citizens ahead of Scotland’s. And the white paper does not add up - the plans to cut taxes and extend childcare need £1.6 billion of additional funding.
7. Myth: There would be tax cuts and more spending in an independent Scotland
Fact: Scotland spent £12 billion more than it raised in taxes last year (that’s from the Scottish Government’s own figures, including North Sea revenues). So it’s hard to see how we’d be able cut corporation tax and air passenger duty on one hand but still spend more on benefits and create an oil fund on the other.
Fact: More powers were devolved in the Scotland Act 2012 (the largest devolution of tax powers in the UK’s history). As a result we now set even more of our own laws, from motorway speed limits to regulating air weapons. Plus, all 3 main UK parties have promised more powers will be devolved in future.
9. Myth: You can’t trust unionists, they’re just negative
Fact: The union has been a huge success story (from joint sporting glory to the amazing scientific collaborations that created Dolly the sheep!) for more than 300 years – that’s why the rest of the UK doesn’t want us to leave.
10. Myth: Remaining North Sea oil and gas is worth £1.5 trillion - and at least £6.8 billion in Scottish tax revenues in first year of independence
Fact: The Scottish Government assumes that oil and gas can be produced at zero costs (so rigs and pipelines can be built and run for free, and oil workers don’t need to be paid), despite the remaining oil being further off-shore and deeper under the ocean, so it costs more to extract. Over the last 2 years, taxes from the North Sea have been £3 billion below the Scottish Government’s most pessimistic forecast – that’s the same as our entire education budget.