Scotland’s chronic public finances could be enough to double income tax bills after independence, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned.
The erection of border posts between Scotland and the rest of the UK would also be “unavoidable” under Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to retain freedom of movement with the rest of the EU.
The First Minister is preparing to unveil her long-awaited summer independence push later this week.
But last week official GERS figures revealed the oil crash left Scotland with a £14.8 billion deficit between public services and taxes raised to pay for them.
The former Kirkcaldy MP called for a new “home rule” deal for Scotland in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and warned the post-referendum tax and welfare powers coming to Holyrood now do not go far enough.
Mr Brown said: “I don’t think they have any solution to the fiscal gap which is around £15 billion – big enough to double the rate of income tax in Scotland if you wanted to maintain the level of services.”
But David Torrance MSP for Kirkcaldy countered Scotland’s fiscal position would change under new constitutional arrangements brought about by independencee and would involve a “range of factors which were not reflected in last week’s GERS publication”.
He added: “The idea that an independent Scotland would double income-tax is so obviously fanciful that it’s difficult to take this intervention seriously – and as a former Chancellor Gordon Brown must understand how ridiculous this claim is.”