Do the sums stack up for Scottish businesses?

Laura Kuenssberg

Former Business Editor

Many voters still say they have unanswered questions about Scottish independence Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

One White paper, 670 pages, thousands and thousands of words. But for business men and women, undecided voters and experts in Aberdeen, today's Scottish government plan for an independently prosperous country does not contain enough information to prove the case yet.

Julie Turnbull, who runs a small business, is pleased there is a promise to cut corporation tax by three percent, saying that should help "create jobs and new business". But in this oil town there is also a lot of anxiety about what might happen. Offshore worker James Watters told me "it's all about the pound in my pocket ... it's still just too vague".

The boss of Glencraft, a factory that makes beds sold right around the UK, was surprised the document "didn't have anything more radical". He said he still hasn't been able to make up his mind on "the biggest business decision Scotland will ever take".

Read: What happens to the union flag if Scotland wins independence?

And economist David Gibbons-Wood at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University told me that the White Paper has "some good ideas" but three main issues still have to be "bottomed out": The cost of promised social policies like additional child care, where the tax burden will fall and how the proposed currency union would work in practice. On that contentious issue he said such a union was not impossible, and was potentially in Scotland's interests.

But he warned of risks to the rest of the UK. Scotland's economy would be very dependent on oil which he believes could push up the pound. In theory that could hit manufacturers in the rest of the UK as they would be tied to a strong currency, making their exports more expensive.

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The truth is that many of the economic implications of independence would be dependent on the outcome of negotiations with Westminster, the EU and the Bank of England after a potential 'yes' vote. And don't forget the fortunes of the North Sea oil and gas industry. Aberdeen is booming right now, but pundits disagree on how long the trade has left at such scale.

With ten months to go, the Scottish government is now trying to fill in the blanks. Today's document does not, and probably never would have been able to, answer all the questions.