The first George Osborne budget since the launch of the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns failed to mention the independence referendum, but it is hugely important to both sides.

For whatever Unionist critics might say about independence - economic uncertainty, oil price volatility, the strictures of a currency union - Yes Scotland can now turn and point to the epic failure of Osborne’s economic policy and ask: "Would more of the same really be better?"

The Chancellor's austerity programme has failed to cut the deficit as quickly as promised; seen public borrowing rise not fall; hobbled rather than stimulated growth; seen the UK lose its AAA credit rating; coincided with a double and possibly a triple-dip recession; and led to welfare cuts which are splitting the Coalition.

Not to mention cutting the top rate of income tax for the wealthy, while kack-handedly trying to tax grannies, caravan owners and pasty munchers. If you want infallibility, try the Vatican.

Today's Budget also included the admission that national debt as a % of GDP will not fall until 2017-18, two years later than forecast, and will peak at an eye-watering 85.6% in 2016-17.

With a never-ending Eurozone crisis, and exports struggling, the Office of Budget Responsibility halved next year's growth forecast to 0.6%.

In addition, voters can look forward to a further £11.5bn of public service cuts, and the Bank of England experimenting with "unconventional" instruments thanks to a changed remit for the Monetary Policy Committee, perhaps a hint at zero or possibly even negative interest rates.

The £130bn of mortgage guarantees for those unable to find a deposit, while welcome for those trying to buy a roof, also sows the seeds for the next housing boom and bust.

So you can be sure Yes Scotland will be seeking to capitalise on Mr Osborne's (mis)calculations.

For the Unionist side, the Chancellor's track record presents multiple headaches.

Not only must Better Together repackage it in such a way that it looks more attractive than the SNP's change option, they must try to maintain a united front, despite the economy and the approaching general election creating cavernous rifts between the Tories, LibDems and Labour.

True, the accompanying OBR figures maintain the downbeat predictions on North Sea oil revenue.

Where the OBR sees £33bn of income between 2012 and 2018, the Scottish Government estimates £48bn and up to £57bn.

In Better Together terms, that’s a £15bn to £24bn black hole in the SNP’s independence plans.

But Mr Osborne's decision to cut department budgets by 2% and divert £2.5bn into large-scale capital projects to boost the economy also means added kudos for Alex Salmond and John Swinney.

For on this particular argument, the First Minister and his Finance Secretary have long been on the side of the angels, warning Treasury cuts to capital spending are counterproductive, hampering growth just when growth is needed.

Now that this view has prevailed, the SNP can say their other arguments - on potential oil wealth, on greater economic flexibility outside the UK - deserve more credence.

The message going out across Scotland as a result of today's Budget from the Yes side will be: "If the Union means more of George Osborne, why bother? There is an alternative."