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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dear Yes supporters

I don't want you to leave. I never wanted you to leave. But if you insist on doing so, let me set the record straight on a few things. And, in the words of Aussie 80s heart-throb Jason Donovan, give me one good reason to leave, I'll give you ten good reasons to stay.

1) The pound
You will not get it. You might get something like the Micronesian Dollar. But it will not carry any resonance with the rest of the world. That was a little petulant. Threadneedle reckons you'll get sterlingisation, which is basically 'unilateral adoption' of the pound but with no say in monetary affairs or access to the central bank as lender of last resort.

2) Iceland
Your economy will retract to the size of Iceland's just before its economic meltdown in 2007-2008.

3) Jobs
Without being an EU member on separation, it is likely that your citizens will automatically have to reapply for a working visa to stay and work in the rest of the UK. Moreover, your citizens will no longer be able to have free economic migration into England and the rest of Europe as you will not be ratified as an EU member state for months, if not years.

4) Banks
Your largest banks and financial services companies have already set in place plans to move south of the border should you vote Yes. This will severely limit your capital markets and create poor GDP growth.

5) Debt
You will NOT be bailed out of debt by the rest of the UK or, if you opt for EU membership, the EU for a long time. 

6) Investors
Already you are losing investors. One large investor has already moved £1m out of his scottish bank holdings and into safer assets. American asset managers and custodians such as Multrees Investor Services have moved "hundreds of millions of pounds" out of the country. Japanese Bank Nomura is warning investors to cash in their Scottish holdings. 

7) Pensions
Who will shore up your citizen's pension schemes when your government runs into debt? Where will be your minimum guarantee? It has already been mentioned that Scottish and other UK companies that historically operated defined benefit pension schemes with a large workforce split between Scotland and the rest of the UK may, in the event that an independent Scotland joined the EU, find there are new 'Section 75 Debt' liabilities owing to the cross-border nature of their pension fund membership.This will be very costly for some schemes.

8) National Savings & Investments
If the Yes voters get their way, savers in Scotland could ONLY invest new money if they had a bank account in England, Wales or NI. In order to KEEP your existing income and guaranteed income bond accounts, the Telegraph reports, you will need to have an English bank account. 

9) Taxation 
You will have to go through an entirely new tax regime - and with an independent Scotland likely to face higher drags on GDP and a lack of free cash flow to underpin the economy, taxation is likely to be higher in an independent Scotland than it is in the UK, despite what the politicans may be saying now. Just wait until it happens - and then you will see the politicans singing a different tune.

10) Oil
It is good to hear that Fergus Ewing,  your minister for energy, enterprise and tourisim, say that Scotland’s oil and gas sector is facing a bright future as half of oil reserves remain to be exploited. Citing figures from oil expert Professor Alex Kemp, using detailed financial modelling, it has been preducted that there will be significant discoveries in Scottish oil sector made over the next 30 years. However, who will fund these discoveries? Where will your tax credits for exploration come from? And in the meantime, how will Scotland carry the international clout to be able to import cheap oil from wherever else - especially if other countries do not trust whatever the currency will be?

You are faced with poorer economic growth, higher taxes, lower GDP, less international clout, higher unemployment, less certain underwriting on individual bank accounts and investments. You face becoming a highly risky, highly leveraged country unable to service its own debt, without borrowing heavily from its economic neighbours.

By all means, yes voters. Vote for something exciting and new. But if you really want it, you really really want it, you can have it - and all the pain that will go with it. If you want it that bad, I'll vote yes with you. It's about time we stopped shoring up a country that has always been a tailwind on our own economic growth.