The SNP’s latest taxpayer-funded paper on separation must answer 10 key questions about joining the EU. The document is due to be published on Friday.
The publication is a distraction from more important issues such as the NHS crisis, but if it is to be credible it needs – as a minimum - to answer the following questions:
1. Would there be a referendum on joining the EU?
2. How many years would it be expected to take from the point of separation to the point of accession?
3. Would a separate Scotland make the required commitment to join the euro in good faith and, if so, how long would it use the pound and how long would it then use a separate Scottish currency before joining the euro, and what impact would these changes have on mortgages and pensions?
4. If Scotland secured the agreement of Ireland and the remainder of the UK to join the Common Travel Area, would it agree not to diverge significantly on immigration policy?
5. It would not be possible for a separate Scotland to be part of both the Common Travel Area and the Schengen borderless zone. Would Scotland seek an opt-out from the Schengen borderless zone and how would it convince EU institutions to legislate for this?
6. If Scotland is not granted an opt-out from the Schengen borderless zone, would Scotland proceed with an application to the EU given a hard border would then need to be established between Scotland and England?
7. How would Scotland construct the required border controls on goods, and what impact would leaving the UK internal market have on Scottish businesses given the rest of the UK is by far our largest trading partner (60 per cent of trade)?
8. What would be Scotland’s budget contribution to the EU?
9. How would Scotland go about planning to reduce its deficit to the required three per cent of GDP given it currently stands at nine per cent?
10. What would be the impact on the fishing industry of a separate Scotland handing some control over its waters to the EU and joining the Common Fisheries Policy?
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“This latest taxpayer-funded paper is another desperate attempt by the SNP to distract from its failings in office and the crisis in our NHS.
“The government should stop wasting public resources on its negative campaign to divide us.
“But if this document is to have any credibility whatsoever, it needs to answer key questions about a separate Scotland joining the EU – including how border controls would work, when the new Scottish currency would be replaced with the euro, how public spending would be reduced, and what impact leaving the UK internal market would have on jobs and livelihoods.
“If it fails to be honest with voters and answer these questions and many more, then this must be the very last time the SNP wastes public money on its constitutional obsession”.