31/08/2014 Sunday Politics Scotland


Gordon Brewer has the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.


People have come here for hundreds of years sharing


their culture and skills, but would an independent Scotland attract


the number of immigrants it needs - and what number should that be?


No currency deal, no debt - that's the threat from Scottish


But what level of risk does that carry and how


We'll be putting those questions live to the First Minister,


who's one of our guests today and to Willie Rennie, the leader


of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who's in our Edinburgh studio.


Wanting more or less divergent views in the independence debate


David Cameron's policy of cutting immigration to under


100,000 was said to be in tatters this week when net migration to


As the UK government tries to stem the surge, the Scottish Government


take the opposite view for an independent Scotland wanting


more and more younger workers to support an ageing population.


As Andrew Kerr reports, behind the figures there's an age-old story


Drolet Hills Italy a later will lead. A brave move further slant


stepping out into the world to open a cafe in Glasgow that is still run


by his grandson. He started in the shipyards. He worked as a carpenter.


From there he built us money together and opened a shop. The


Italians were part of Scotland's stories and then other waves of


immigrants from Pakistan to Poland. Emigration is a positive thing.


Migrants tend to be young, the draw unless public services, public


spending, the increased tax receipts. That is a good thing


compared to the older population who in fiscal terms require extra


spending in terms of pensions, health care and social services.


Originally the family here were strangers to this land but they


worked hard and became fully integrated, they became part of the


fabric of the city. That is the hope of many people who come to the


shores, but sadly not the reality. The latest figures worry the UK


government. Net migration into the UK totalled 243,000 in the year to


March, up from 100 and 73,000 in the previous 12 months. -- 173,000. The


UK Government promised to reduce net migration to tens of thousands and


that has proved impossible for a number of reasons. That opens it to


critique from UKIP and anti-immigrant groups. One of the


mistakes made by the Conservative government is that they have


responded to that by responding to a populist and symbolic policies


designed to restrict access to welfare and health services. A


points -based system would be used to attract workers and keep students


on a post-IDV 's. They have a net migration total of 24,000. The


policy could face the resorts of hurdles. The first one, would


Scotland attract that level of immigration. Around 24,000 a year?


If it were able to attract that level of attraction, a lot of public


opinion? Would it be able to pursue that liberal policy within the rest


of the UK and Ireland? Back at the cafe, the coffee is on but there is


trouble brewing over the numbers. A keen insider from the Labour years


thinks that the figures are over the peak. We will have to get them from


outside Europe. What does that mean? It means Africa and Asia. That


is what we do not want to let us know. The SNP now it is deeply


unpopular amongst working class mail undecided voters. They should have


the honesty to tell the truth. He is a nice man, he is also our spin


doctor. I know I can tell what he is stretching, the average is just a


little bit. This Scottish government is not concealing anything, it is


trying to do its best to calculate the number of skilled workers that


we need. 1 million is a bit of nonsense. As arguments by all over


it as the people who are here in Scotland know who face tough choices


on how they want their communities to look and how they want them to


survive. In a few moments we will speak to the first Minister Alex


Salmond. And Willie Rennie. leader Willie Rennie. But first, the


UK's national debt - and what would happen to Scotland's share of it in


the event of a Yes vote has been With both the first minister


and Finance minister John Swinney insisting Scotland could walk away


from its share if the UK government Here's a reminder


of what the Finance Secretary had to We support our currency union in


which we would take our fair share of the debt which has been built up


over time. But if the UK is going to seize the assets then it is welcome


to all the liabilities and we will not be having any of them.


So what would it mean for us as investors and consumers to walk


away from Scotland's share of the UK national debt?


Well, in the short term it would save us money - but what impact


would it have on international markets and future investors?


How would they react to a country walking away from


Since Scotland isn't legally responsible for the UK debt if it


becomes a new independent state, it would not be in default. How


international viewers would see it, there would be a number of issues.


Maybe there is a sense of Scotland not living up to its moral


obligations to shoulder responsibility for its share of the


UK debt, people might consider that a reason to be cautious about future


lending. On the other hand, Scotland would be starting with a new sheet.


That could mean it would be able to repay any new debt it took on more


easily. People might judge it as a better risky.


An independent Scotland would undoubtedly result in changes to


interest rates, but the extent of it remains largely uncertain.


The most likely affect on the bills that the householder would have to


pay for mortgage payments and other things, we would be looking of an


increase of one percentage point. It could be a bit more or less and that


is whether Scotland takes the debt with that. If it walks away with --


from the debt, we do not know how much more or maybe even less those


costs would change. It is really... It is very likely that the risks


would be higher, that is the outcome.


The First Minister Alex Salmond was listening to that and joins us


from Strichen Community Park this morning.


Can I ask you about immigration. These latest figures that we have on


immigration to Scotland, your plans are for more than double that. What


ever is still you have that people in Scotland are enthusiastic about


such a substantial increase in immigration? Can I correct you on to


raise. Over the period since Devil loosen the average net migration


figure has been 22,000 into Scotland. But also the second


correction is that we are talking about net migration and not


immigration. There are more people who leave Scotland who are younger.


-- devolution. The net migration figure takes into effect the job


figures available to those people who are leaving. It is a good thing


if people who have skill and ability who want to stay and contribute to


our country. The difference between net migration and immigration is


very important. I saw a headline saying that Salman and targets


24,000 immigration. The journalist who wrote the article would be


counted in their terms as part of that immigration figure, they have,


from is England and Wales and our in our communities. They are not the


same thing as was being suggested. If you do run a more expansive


immigration policy which you do want to do, no matter how you define it,


obviously the UK Government would have concerns about that. There


would be nothing to stop people coming here and driving to London.


How would you deal with British Government concerns about that? We


are suggesting a points -based system. In terms of continuing


employment, like the graduate employment scheme that we used to


operate a few years ago until the UK Government stopped us from doing as


they can do. If the UK Government thought people could take advantage


of that, how would you stop them? Ireland has operated a different


immigration system that is part of the common travel area, the Green


card system. The Isle of Man operates a different immigration


system. It is attached a points -based and to employment, that is


the whole point of the system that we are putting forward. Every person


watching this, every family watching this will have relatives who have


had to go far from Scotland to seek employment in opportunity. We are


suggesting a combination of attracting skilled people who can


attract much to our communities, and opportunities are young people in


our own land which will allow us to be a society that will meet the


Democratic challengers meeting every country in western Europe. The UK


Government kicks out people with ability and then we have the


situation were young Scots have to go to London or elsewhere to find


lifetime opportunities. Danny Alexander has written to John


Swinney this morning asking the Ennis -- SNP to scrap plans not to


take on the UK debt. Will you withdraw that idea? We will


certainly not. The answer is in the Treasury note as to the markets on


the 13th of January this year which the Chief Secretary is familiar


with. The first sentence of which there is in the event of Scottish


independence, the continuing UK Government will accept congrats all


-- contractual obligations in its name. Danny Alexander, just as the


new earlier, he is... He is not calling it a default. Interestingly


enough Douglas Alexander did a BBC programme a few days ago and said


that five times. Scotland... He says it is irresponsible and that


financial markets would take a dim view of it. Whether you call it a


default and not does not matter. It does matter because you cannot have


a default which is a matter of fact we know is no default. The liability


lies with the UK Government. We are putting forward an argument that we


should share assets and liabilities. Danny Alexander is suggesting that


he waltzed as having access to the financial assets to the Bank of


England. 27% of the gilts that have been issued under quantitative


easing. If he wants to take all of the assets, then he gets stuck with


all of the liabilities. You say you have a sovereign mandate to


negotiate the currency here. Can you hear me? We will have a mandate. We


had a small technical problem there. We lost you for a second. Hang on a


second, you say you have a sovereign mandate to negotiate a currency


union if there is a yes vote. The Green party wants an independent


currency. Jim Sellers described your plans on the currency as stupid.


When he votes yes to independence, why is he giving your man did it --


a mandate to negotiate currency. That is why we published a White


Paper, that is the mandate... Yes, but you do not agree with an


independent currency. Millions of other people are as well. It is


supported among the Scottish people. I am dubious about this. If I vote


yes to independence and I give you a mandate for a currency union, what


else are people in Scotland giving you a mandate for in your white


paper? Take taxation, your mandate policy is to cut corporation tax in


big business. If there is a yes vote does that mean it is the sovereign


will of April in Scotland to cut tax on big business? Now. -- live.


Please let me answer the question. There is a common-sense agreement to


have a common currency. It will be subject to the will of the Scottish


people. The idea is that the SNP have have been seen many times in


the White Paper. It will be tested against whatever Willie Rennie has


to see. The common-sense agreement will shape the advent of Scottish


independence. I think most people watching will appreciate the


difference. Thank you very much for that. We heard your golden words but


your picture froze a few times. Thank you very much. Listening to


that was the reader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats who is in our


other studio. Going back to this immigration business, why not


devolved powers so that the Scottish Government can do what they want to


do? The issue here is whether you can have a common travel agent


serving the British Isles with radical immigration differences


between the different countries. You could see people coming to Scotland


with a more liberal approach and then travelling down south to take


up work. You can imagine the rest of the United Kingdom might have a


problem. It has not been a problem with the isle of man on the Republic


of Ireland. But it could be a problem if you look at the detail.


In that case, having more immigration and giving the ageing


palatial and in Scotland which your site is almost screaming about, one


way is to have more immigrants. If we cannot do that within the UK,


isn't that a good reason to be independent and have a completely


separate immigration policy? The beauty of the United Kingdom is a


broad population with strong working shoulders to support the economy. I


think that is a good reason we should say no to independence. What


we can do is stick with the UK and have that security for the future.


If Scotland does become independent what do you think it's currency


should be? That is an issue for Alex Salmond to spell out. Now, you are


the leader of the Lib Dems and that I would have thought as a major


political party you might have some idea what you would be advocating in


two weeks time. I would pick from a range of tenable options. Alex


Salmond is not spelling out the consequences. The cutting edge of


the Lib Dems is moved to pick? Yes, if we look at the options presented


to people it would be quite Draconian. You would have impacts on


businesses, being able to support the leaders of the economy. These


would be quite dramatic. So you don't know? I tell you what I know,


I know we are Better Together in the United Kingdom. So, if there is a


yes vote would you advocate a currency union? It is Alex Salmond


that is proposing to put up barriers. If your side lose the


referendum what will you argue? A currency union? What I will argue


for right now, forgive me, this is what I am arguing for in this


referendum, it is for the United Kingdom to stay together. You were


leading me down the garden path there, I thought you were going to


ask the question! What exactly is your evidence for the UK debt? The


United Kingdom has never defaulted on its debt. That is widely Kingdom


has credibility across the globe. Scotland is part of that, we have a


good reputation for sound money. If, on the first day of independence, we


were to walk away from our fears she of debt that would trash our


reputation across the globe. -- their share. If it is walking away


from ?100 billion of UK debt which it could then put into a


stabilisation fund to deal with any problems of the sterilisation of the


currency, then it would be saving. That is extraordinary, that they


would be prepared to walk away from the Hundred years reputation of


sound money for that. Crawford Beveridge set out quite clearly that


if it smells like a default and looks like a default it is the


default. I would not want an independent Scotland to start off by


defaulting on its debt. Householders across Scotland would resent that.


If you look at mortgage costs, they build everyone pays every single


day, the cost would go up. This is astonishing. We are using sterling


but we are not part of the formal currency union and we have walked


away from UK debt, it is not clear to me why the cost of the car loan


would go up? Because the reputation of an independent Scotland... There


may be an issue for Scotland borrowing money but why would


Barclays bank or RBS put the cost of the car loan up? People who were


investing in Scotland would charge us more which would cost government


more and individuals more as a result. That would be the cost, the


price of this. I understand the cost of government debt, you may or may


not be right, fiscal expansion might charge lots of money but why would


RBS timely -- suddenly turned round to people and say your mortgage is


going up? Because the ability of people in Scotland to GP that debt


would be diminished. -- repay that debt. It is quite straightforward.


You still have not explained why the mortgage would go up. Because the


cost of borrowing would go up. But the cost of borrowing from big


international banks would be exactly the same as before. The cost would


go up, that is what the experts tell us. The other thing you seem unclear


about is the argument that it financial institutions would not be


bailed out but, on the assumption that RBS for example, where to


become a UK company saw it were regulated by the UK, it is not clear


why that is a problem. The majority of customers would not be in


Scotland but elsewhere. They would want to operate in a financial


regime that was consistent with the customers. It would be a gradual


change over time but perhaps more dramatic in the short-term. This is


what the yes people mean when they say you are just negative all the


time. If there was a formal currency union and no lender of last resort


one of the big arguments is the problem with the banks is the know


if they mess up that governments will bail them out. That would not


exist under sterling eyes Asian with financial institutions in Scotland,


they would have to build up there on reserves and be able to take either


of themselves if they got into trouble. That is arguably a good


thing. That was argued last week but it was roundly criticised because it


would mean a significant number of job losses here in Scotland. These


companies want the security of a country behind them. The financial


sector in Scotland is 12 times the size of our economy which is way too


big for us to support in a time of crisis. Arguably lots of activities


which have never been anywhere near Scotland but are in fact based in


London. That is my point. The jobs would gradually drift southwards


over time, even more. There are functions of RBS here in Scotland.


There would be companies wanting to take advantage of the new regime. I


do not think it is negative to ask serious questions about these


chaotic plans that Alex Salmond has put forward. That is doing my duty


as a Scot. I do not want to end up with a chaotic financial system. I


would be letting down Scots if I failed to answer these questions, it


is not negative, it is doing my duty. We have to leave it there,


thank you for joining us. Now let's cross for the news. Good afternoon.


The two sides in the independence debate have been discussing the


future of immigration. Alex Salmond said he wanted a combination of


attracting skilled people and the opportunity of keeping youngsters


here. Willie Rennie raised concerns about how the Common travel area


would work. Sunbed users are still at risk of skin cancer even if they


do not burn according to researchers. It increases the risk


of developing a common cancer is by repeated planning rather than


burning. One fifth of skin cancers are said to be caused in that way.


Health professionals are to step up the attempt to see minimum pricing


for alcohol introduced here. A minimum unit price was passed at


Holyrood two years ago but it has pleased -- faced legal challenges


from alcohol producers. Now a look at the weather forecast. Hello, it


is looking like a lovely day ahead for many of us with an abundance of


sunshine on the cards and a load of dry weather as well. Plenty


sunshine, especially further east, in the West it will start to cloud


over with wet and windy weather by the end of the day. Temperatures


around 16 Celsius, up to 19 further east. That is it for now. Back to


Gordon. Now in a moment, we'll be discussing


the big events coming up this week. But first, let's take a look back


at the week that was The referendum campaign leaders went


head-to-head in a BBC television debate. They both claim the momentum


is with them but polls suggest that most felt the first Minister


performed better. The first referendum votes were cast after


postal votes were coming back. People were warned not to take


photographs of the papers to post them online to maintain the


integrity of the voting process. 130 businesspeople said leaving the UK


would threaten businesses and jobs. The Labour MP Jim Murphy suspended


his tour because of what he described as coordinated abuse by


voters of independence. The yes campaign said it condemned all forms


of offensive behaviour. It's time to have a look at what's


happening in the week ahead. I'm joined by the writer


and commentator David Torrance, and by Kevin McKenna, who is


a columnist for the Observer. I think Kevin would say he wins the


fashion stakes. That was all the rage in 1966. Maybe Kevin has come


from church. What did you make of what you heard about immigration. I


do not think it is an issue in this campaign but maybe you think it is.


I think it is an important issue. It is important in terms of what we


want Scotland to looks like whether it is a yes or no vote. We a


population that is ageing more quickly than the rest of the UK. We


do need skilled immigration. We also have a moral responsibility to look


at depressed cultures economies to see what we can do to help them and


also to take something of their skills. David Torrence, the problem


with this for the first Minister is presumably, as I understand that


every poll that has been done on this shows that immigration --


attitudes to immigration, is very heated. There is a stronger argument


that I have heard on a points -based system, pointing out that Ireland


can do that. The point was you cannot have immigrants that are


coming in from over the Channel in France. This would controlled thing.


A much stronger argument. Where I think he is off is that by becoming


independent that Scots will no longer leave Scotland. London is a


global city and draws talent from several independent countries and


will continue to do sleep. What do you think of this sovereign mandate


for the currency union. It is a bit incoherent. The idea of having a


mandate to impose policy within your own five Dom makes sense. The idea


that you end up with a mandate to impose policy on another sovereign


country... I think you made that difference clear. If it is a yes


vote, it has been a popular mandate for him to negotiate over the next


18 months that will follow and radius issues. It has been declared


that one bit of the White Paper is the sovereign will of the Scottish


people should be vote yes, despite the fact that many people on the yes


I do not agree with the currency. I think those who have read the White


Paper know enough about how politics is conducted. You do not get


absolutely everything that you want are asked or. I think a lot of


people will treat the 18 months following a possible Yes vote as a


buffer zone. Yes, these are all the things that we understand are in the


White Paper that our priorities, but I don't think anyone will be


surprised that if at the end of the 18 months of negotiating, a lot of


them will remain. Let's move on to what is happening next week. West


Minister is back in session and it will no doubt be discussing the


developing international situations. In the Telegraph, we can


see it there, Platinum -- Vladimir Putin on the verge of war over


Ukraine. And we have also got a story in the Daily Mail. This is


comments from the former deputy NATO reader. Are we facing an alarming


international situation at the moment? Is this alarming,


particularly in Ukraine and the middle east? In all levels it is


alarming. Whether the UK will get involved is another matter. It puts


the Scottish referendum in to some degree of context. It is stuff that


we consider important, it is not a matter of life and death as it is in


other areas. The Telegraph are quoting Vladimir Putin on the verge


of war with Europe. This is come from leaders of the EU. People might


get worried. RB men to take that literally? There is an awful lot of


rhetoric, there has been ever since the current escalation of the


situation in the European developed... Vladimir Putin is seen


as a bogeyman. If it was not Russia and collective memories of the Cold


War, I don't think the rhetoric would just be as excitable. Putin


himself has become something that represents a lot of negatives in the


collective memory of European and British politicians and he knows


that. Anti-riot ships that are only takes advantage of it any knows that


certain types of freeze all a jig and those in the EU were dealing


with -- he knows there is a fear. Do you believe, this is very dramatic,


putting it on the verge of war with Europe. Do you think behind the


rhetoric there is any possibility whatsoever that the European union


or indeed NATO wants to get merit are involved -- millet had only


involved? The airline incident, the plane being brought down would have


been the flash point, the key moment for action. I think it seems


unlikely that it will follow any time soon. A lot of this is


predominantly rhetorical. Quickly on NATO, a story in the Independent


Scotland online. The idea that you can apply to be part of a nuclear


Alliance while getting rid of the key elements of that. Not entirely


sure of where this is coming from. This is something that I would have


expected to hear earlier in the campaign. I am surprised it has


taken so long for this fear. It is not officially NATO. All right,


thank you both very much. Thank you from all of us on the programme.


Back at the same time next week. Goodbye.


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