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LSE professor accuses Treasury of exaggerating Scottish independence costs

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LSE professor accuses Treasury of exaggerating Scottish independence costs

A London School of Economics professor has accused the government of misleading voters over the cost of Scottish independence.

Professor Patrick Dunleavy’s research underpins the Treasury’s case for Scotland remaining in the union, but he told the FT that the Treasury had manipulated his research into the one-off costs of an independent Scotland setting up a new government, making them look 10 times larger than they would actually be.

He told the paper: ‘The Treasury’s figures are bizarrely inaccurate. I don’t see why the Scottish government couldn’t do this for a very small amount of money.’

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is expected to announce the government’s final paper on Scottish independence tomorrow, but Dunleavy said the calculations are askew, pointing out that not all of the 180 public bodies that would need to be created north of the border would be major departments. He also said that many of these exist already and would merely need to be enlarged, estimating the transition costs at £150-250 million rather then the £2.7 billion estimate by the Treasury.

‘The £2.7 billion is based on the Scottish Government’s own estimate for the number of public bodies needed and that, along with other estimates – such as ICAS’s statement that changes to the tax system could cost considerably more than £750 million– illustrate the range of potential start-up costs. The Scottish government still refuse to set out any start up costs whatsoever, which is not credible,’ Dunleavy said.  

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