Association Chairman Tim Jackson has written to The Scotsman warning that the Covid-19 crisis proves that independence remains an SNP pipe-dream which Scotland simply cannot afford.
The Scotsman: Friday, 1st May 2020:
One of the effects of the Covid-19 crisis has been to push the price of oil to a record low last seen in 1870. It is, therefore, worth recalling that in 2014 the SNP repeatedly insisted that oil revenues would be the passport to a new, prosperous and independent nation. Had Scotland voted for independence in 2014 our economy and our public services would now be in ruins.
By being part of the UK, Scotland has benefited from a massive Covid-19 support package amounting to £3.4 billion – and still rising.
Only last week the UK government delivered a further £155 million for Scottish local government. This is money that should be urgently handed over to our struggling councils.
These lifelines come in addition to the billions of pounds being given by the UK Government to Scottish workers who would otherwise have lost their jobs or incomes as a result of the Covid-19 economic shakedown.
Other support includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the deferment of VAT and income tax payments, and a statutory sick pay relief package. This unprecedented intervention was only achievable because it rests on the strong shoulders of the Union.
The reality is that an independent Scotland would have buckled and collapsed had it faced the Covid-19 crisis alone.
With tough times ahead, it would, therefore, be catastrophic economically for Scotland to go it alone by cutting itself adrift from the UK, which is the sixth largest economy in the world.
Even before the current Covid-19 crisis, the 354-page Growth Commission, led by economist and former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, predicted, in 2018, that independence would cause years of austerity for Scotland.
While, therefore, the SNP remain entitled to make an emotional case for independence, even their most die-hard supporters must now concede that they have lost the economic argument.
The Covid-19 crisis reinforces the point that independence remains an SNP pipe-dream which Scotland simply cannot afford.