Independence 'Will Weaken Economy'

A majority of city fund managers think the economy of an independent Scotland would become weaker over the long-term, according to a survey.

Research by spread betting company Capital Spreads found that 65% of investors expect Scotland's economy to be weaker five years after independence, falling to 63% after 10 years.

In contrast 47% think that the economy of the rest of the UK would be stronger in five years' time without Scotland, increasing to 58% 10 years after independence.

The company polled 200 fund managers with collective assets under management of more than 10 trillion US dollars.

Nick Lewis, the company's head of trading, said: "This research shows clearly that whilst Alex Salmond may be rigorously waving the Saltire for independence, invoking the spirit of William Wallace to aid his cause, investors are looking at the prospect of an independent Scotland with a cooler head and they are not dancing a reel in his support.

"The Yes campaign faces many questions over the economy, not least the issue around what currency it takes and how it intends to pay its share of the national debt, but also concerns around the overstating of North Sea oil reserves and their likely tax receipts and threats made major Scottish employers such as Standard Life, who have made no secret of their intention to strongly consider quitting its base in Edinburgh for southern climes in the event of Scottish independence, at the cost of many jobs and precious votes for the Yes campaign.

"Conversely, investors remain bullish for the rest of the UK economy, which would appear to indicate a sincerely held cynicism over Scotland's ability to manage its own fiscal affairs and emerge as a successful economy in its own right.''

SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: "Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world - richer per head than France, Japan and the UK as a whole - and people in Scotland are wise to this kind of scaremongering from the wealthy elites. Indeed, Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz made clear just yesterday that there is 'little basis for any of the forms of scaremongering that have been advanced'.

"The fact is that Scotland will prosper economically after a Yes vote - a fact backed up by chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, Martin Gilbert, who said 'an independent Scotland would be a big success'.''

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