Scotland's campaign to break ties with the rest of the U.K. will kick off in earnest this week with the launch of the pro-independence campaign – but the economic implications of going it alone are still being fiercely debated.
In September 2014, Scots voters will be asked in a referendum whether Scotland should be an independent country. If it's a Yes, then Scotland will break ties with the rest of the United Kingdom and formulate its own economic, political and defense policies.
With less than 10 months to go before next September 18 vote, it looks as though undecided voters will hold sway. At the moment, 47 percent of voters in Scotland would vote against independence, while 38 percent are in favour – but 15 percent are still undecided, according to a poll for the Sunday Times. Scotland has had some powers of self-government since the devolution of some of the centralized powers to the Scottish parliament in 1999.
There are concerns that Scotland's economy would struggle without support from the rest of the U.K. South of the border, the U.K. Treasury has argued that Scottish independence would damage the country's economy, claiming its people will face tax rises of £1,000 per head. Since the credit crisis, its two biggest banks, Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS (now part of Lloyds), have been supported by the U.K. taxpayer in different ways.