Tuesday 4 November 2003

Prosperity in Europe?

Here is yet another story about Scotland's poor business start-up rate:
The number of new business start-ups in Scotland has slumped in the first quarter of 2003 compared to figures for the previous year, prompting renewed concern over the health of the nation’s economy.
The leader of the opposition at Holyrood is rightly upset:
John Swinney, leader of the SNP, said: "These figures show conclusively the parlous state of the Scottish economy.
And he continues:
"For people to go into business they have to have confidence in the Scots economy and I’m afraid these figures give very little to be confident about."
Yes indeed: the business community needs to have confidence but what exactly is the SNP proposing?

From their website

The Euro would benefit the Scottish economy. The SNP has actively come out in favour of the Euro while Labour has equivocated on the issue, keeping people guessing about when a decision will be reached. This economic uncertainty further damages Scotland’s international competitiveness.

The SNP believes that, on balance, the European single currency offers substantial economic benefits to Scotland. The Euro should combine a lower interest rate and access to a wider market, without the risk of exchange rate uncertainty associated with sterling.

Of course we would still face exchange rate uncertainty if we were to join the Euro. Many imported raw materials are priced in dollars and the pound is currently keeping more in line with the dollar than is the Euro. I would recommend that Mr Swinney look here to find out why the Euro would not be good for Scotland. Adoption of the Euro would almost certainly lead to a common European financial and taxation regime under which control of our pension schemes would pass to Brussels. Does the SNP want to see French and German unemployment rates here? Mr Swinney may think that business success in Scotland requires independence but "Independence in Europe" is an oxymoron.