Independent or not, Scotland needs the pound

Independence Scotland Single currency Union

The United Kingdom has been one of the most stable and prosperous of economic unions in history. The UK came into existence in 1707 with the Act of Union between England and Scotland - with Wales being under English control since 1284. Even before Union England and Scotland had common resources and institutions – including shared Monarchs since 1603, and, of course, the pound.  Indeed, the Banks of England and Scotland have shared the pound for the last 300 years.

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Sterling's strength undermines UK rebalancing

Balance of payments Re-balancing Strength of Sterling UK Trade

The extent to which an export recovery can help the UK economy rebalance in the short term is in doubt following latest trade figures released by the ONS this week. Rebalancing has occupied centre stage in recent months as the UK looks to shake off its over-reliance on private and public debt. The two pillars of rebalancing – private investment and exports – have both weakened in recent months

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Transfer pricing

Amazon Apple Google Price fixing Starbucks Transfer pricing

Transfer pricing is a method of pricing goods and services transferred within a multinational company in order to reduce tax burdens and maximise profits for the whole enterprise. It is one of the reasons why globalisation has increased and why operating in more than one territory can be beneficial for firms looking to minimise their overall tax liability. The purpose of transfer pricing is to push profits into territories where either the tax rates are more favourable, or where more loopholes exist to be exploited.

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UK energy market to be investigated by the new competition watchdog

Competition and Markets Authority Energy prices Oligopoly Watchdog

This week Ofgem reported its findings on the state of the UK energy market, and concluded that there was sufficient evidence for a referral to the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), including excess profits, soaring prices (which increased by 24% between 2009 and 2013 – 10% above the CPI), and increasing consumer distrust. This assessment was jointly undertaken by Ofgem, the OFT and the CMA.

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Youth unemployment

Unemployment youth unemployment

As with adult unemployment, the level of unemployment of 16 – 24 year olds in the UK fell in the last quarter of 2013 to 917,000 – down 48,000 – with the unemployment rate now at 19.9% - down 1% - further indication that aggregate demand in the economy is growing. The drop affected only the 18-24 year old group, where the rate fell from 19.1% to 17.9% (734,000), with unemployment among 16-17 year olds actually rising from 36.2 to 36.4% (at 183,000). In contrast, 50-64 year olds are the least at risk of unemployment, with a rate of just 4.4%.

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