WORKING ABROAD / SEP. 20, 2013
version 5, draft 5

What Would Scottish Independence Mean for the Labour Market?

Next autumn, Scotland will vote on whether to remain part of the UK or become an independent nation. The arguments for and against the divorce between Scotland and England vary. Apparently, this is a critical dilemma for the Scottish nation as the prospect of Scotland’s independence carries a lot of implications for the labor market and Scotland's entrepreneurial market in general.

Arguments for independence

According to Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Scotland would be economically better off going independent as the nation will expand its interests in Europe in different industries such as farming, fisheries and oil. This could potentially enhance the career prospects of people seeking employment in these sectors. Scotland is already a leading nation when it comes to the oil industry and if the country gains independence, the number of employment opportunities and related work would dramatically rise. 

Also, the  benefits introduced by the Scottish parliament such as free bus passes, personal care and free prescriptions run the risk of being taken away by the ruling parties in Westminster. Going independent however, will safeguard the welfare system provisions that workers in Scotland already enjoy and prevent these privileges from being affected by potential future reforms in England.

Moreover, there are plausible arguments that Scotland may allure inward investors and boost its economy with the ownership of an estimated 20 billion barrels of oil and gas reserves beneath the UK territory and the North Sea. Scotland also has roughly 25% of Europe’s potential for wind and wave energy which can be exported. We know that the 'green' sector is rapidly growing and there is a vast amount of potential for investors, startups and careers within this area. Therefore, if Scotland can utilise its natural resources effectively, the career opportunities in the country could be endless! 

Arguments against independence

Despite the optimistic viewpoints regarding the controversial issue of Scottish independence, we should not overlook the pessimistic voices.

First of all, changes in the current tax regime that might arise with the independence of the nation might make businesses or jobseekers and employees consider relocating across the border to England if taxes do increase. Whilst there have been talks that Scotland would want to mirror its celtic counterpart Ireland with their favourable 12.5% corporate tax, there is no guarantee that this would happen. In fact, there is no guarnatee that businesses based in Scotland now would be better off if the country seperates from the rest of the UK.

The issue surrounding wht currency will be adopted and the consequences of its adoption are additional concerns. If Scotland adopts another currency, then this will be become easily susceptible to the predatory international financial markets who would take advantage of its weaknesses and speculate on it. The Euro is also not a viable option given the uncertainties that certain Eurozone member-countries undergo. So, how could independent Scotland’s currency guarantee economical stability and prosperity? Would a new currency attract overseas investors  to Scotland and open up ventures or would it put them off?

There are many arguments regarding Scotland’s independence and its impact on the local industrial world and labor market. Do you think that Scotland is better off going independent? And if so, what will the consequences be for local economy and businesses?

 

Photo taken from Getty/PA (http://www.scotsman.com)

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