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White Paper manifesto, says accountant

THE body representing Scotland's accountants has claimed the SNP's independence White Paper has raised fresh questions in the debate on the country's future.

Atholl Duncan, executive director of the Institute of Chartered Accounts in Scotland (ICAS), described the blueprint as a "political manifesto" rather than a "business plan".

He told a conference on the economics of independence in Edinburgh: "Accountants want to see the evidence. They want to see the numbers; it's in their DNA.

"So as a political document, the White Paper may be deemed by some to be excellent. That's for others to judge. But it's not a business plan, it's a political manifesto."

He questioned whether the Scottish Government's plan to set a timetable for cutting corporation tax by 3p would create 27,000 jobs, as promised in the White Paper published last week.

He added: "Our conclusion is that the White Paper gives us more detail but perhaps, as you'd expect from a document of this size, it raises many, many new questions."

His comments were dismissed by John Swinney, who also addressed the conference.

The Finance Secretary highlighted measures to boost the economy outlined in the White Paper, including an increase in childcare provision and a 50% cut in air passenger duty.

Launching a pamphlet based on economic sections of the blueprint, titled A Business Plan for Scotland, he said: "An independent Scotland will have the opportunity to pursue policies designed to grow the economy in a more supportive, competitive and dynamic business environment.

"Our business plan for Scotland includes plans to transform childcare provision will enable more people, particularly women, to participate in the workforce. Childcare is an investment in our economic prosperity."

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