Moore claims only highlight strength of neighbours

Michael Moore’s blundering repetition of discredited claims over borrowing costs in an independent Scotland has only served to highlight the strong credit ratings enjoyed by other small nations.

Embarrassingly, Michael Moore’s reheated claims come shortly after his LibDem colleague Danny Alexander went on record to argue that a triple-A credit rating is “not the be all and end all”. The UK’s credit rating currently has a negative outlook with both Fitch and Moody’s credit rating agencies.

Almost two-thirds of the countries that currently hold triple-A status have populations of less than ten million, including Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.

Scotland has stronger public finances than the rest of the UK, with the most recent GERS figures showing that Scotland contributes 9.6% of public revenues but receives 9.3% of public spending. The SNP Government has balanced Scotland’s budget in every single year since 2007 while the oil & gas sector boosted the UK’s balance of trade by £40 billion.

On an internationally comparable basis Scotland’s share of UK debt in 2010 would have been 64% of GDP, compared to the UK’s 76%, the EU’s 80% and the G7’s 114%.

Commenting, SNP Treasury Spokesman Stewart Hosie MP said:

“This ill-judged intervention by Michael Moore has only highlighted the strong credit ratings enjoyed by Scotland’s small, independent neighbours.

“Instead of suggesting that he knows better than the ratings agencies and can decree that an independent Scotland would have a poor credit rating, Michael Moore would be better advised to actually look at the evidence.

“The record of our neighbours shows that small, well-managed independent countries can have every expectation of enjoying the highest credit ratings.

“Scotland is in a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK and the SNP in Government have delivered balanced budgets every single year since 2007. Meanwhile the oil & gas sector contributes tens of billions of pounds to the UK’s balance of trade and Scotland’s debt to GDP ratio is substantially lower than both the UK and the EU average.

“The anti-independence campaign is ill-served by wilfully ignoring the evidence when it does not suit their negative outlook.

“Previous LibDem scaremongering on personal borrowing rebounded badly on Danny Alexander as it revealed that despite his position in the Treasury, he lacks even a basic understanding on how private borrowing rates are set. Their repetition today by Michael Moore suggests that the LibDems are fundamentally incapable of learning from their mistakes.”