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Tag Archives: Institute for Fiscal Studies

This column warned, in February and again in May, that Alex Salmond wasn’t to be under-estimated. The Scottish National Party’s canny leader has a track record of surging late to secure a close-run victory. He did it in the Scottish parliamentary elections of both 2007 and 2011.

The Union is now in grave danger. Over 300 years of history could be reversed when Scotland votes on Thursday 18 September. No-one should be surprised by the latest “shock” polls showing the pro-independence vote within spitting distance of upending the 1707 Act of Union. For some time, the momentum has been with the Yes-camp, as it has steadily come from behind. In mid-2013, 65pc of the Scottish electorate said they wanted to stay in the UK. By May this year, that figure had fallen to just over half.
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So Moody’s has downgraded the UK. This country’s sovereign debt has dropped one notch from AAA, the lowest possible credit risk, to AA1. For the first time since 1978, Britain has lost its triple-A rating.

The markets saw this coming. All three major credit ratings agencies – the others being Standard and Poor’s and Fitch – have had the UK on “negative outlook” for some time, suggesting a downgrade would follow if the economy deteriorated further. Well, GDP contracted by 0.3pc during the last three months of 2012, we learnt a few weeks ago, as Britain flirts with triple-dip recession.
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