The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies has issued a dire warning about the economic consequences of independence.
David Philips of the IFS, who wrote the report, said: “The loss of Scotland to the British economy would seriously jeopardise the work of think tanks in London which rely on producing reports and forecasting to make a living. Independence closes off a lucrative source of work for dozens of experts.”
It is the latest setback for Mr Salmond who is known to be unsympathetic to economic forecasters. He worked as an oil economist for the Royal Bank and learned not to trust the judgement of experts far removed from the industries and sectors they commented on and who produced reports to suit those who paid them.
“The trouble is that no one can afford to annoy these people,” said a market analyst. “They produce the reports the newspapers publish and are taken to be true although they are only the views of one person sitting in London.” He pointed out that while the report said taxes would have to go up in Scotland, a previous IFS report said exactly the same thing would happen in the UK after the next election in order to bring down the deficit.
Mr Philips said the IFS was like many think tanks, an independent organisation that could only survive if it constantly produced reports even if no one read them. “I don’t think the Nationalists have thought this through. There will be job losses as a result of a Yes vote. And it will impact on families. I will have to forego my skiing holiday. The second car will have to go and my wife will have to take the bus to pilates. We don’t have concessionary travel down here you know.”
Critics point out that today’s IFS report on Scottish debt bases its analysis on the Office of Budget Responsibility’s oil forecasts which are at odds with industry estimates which are much higher. They say the IFS director Andrew Dilnot now works at the OBR and there is a link between them. The OBR has a dismal economic forecasting record and is regarded as a politicised organisation by Mr Darling.
But Mr Philips denied collusion. “We don’t answer to the OBR,” he said. “We answer to clients and our corporate members who are completely unbiased and non political….members like the Bank of England, Barclays, British and American Tobacco, the CBI, Deloitte, HBOS, Revenue and Customs, the Treasury, HSBC, the Institute of Directors, the Investment Management Association, KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Shell, Standard Chartered, Zurich Financial Services. You’re not telling me they are all biased against independence….”
A Better Together spokesman said: “This proves what we’ve said all along. That if you keep publishing pessimistic reports based on dodgy statistics, you break peoples’ will and eventually they give up. Vote NO.”