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Swinney faces taxing questions in Aviemore

John Swinney has said he favoured borrowing to boost public spending in the early years of an independent Scotland.
John Swinney has said he favoured borrowing to boost public spending in the early years of an independent Scotland.

Finance secretary John Swinney faced questions about income tax, the pound and where an independent Scotland would site its embassies during a meeting in the Highlands.

Around 30 people gathered at Aviemore Community Centre to question Mr Swinney about the independence referendum.

Earlier in the day, Mr Swinney visited Aviemore-based manufacturers Hydrasun, which has benefited from a £2.3million investment, including £460,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The investment was used to upgraded the factory and buy new equipment. Some 20 jobs have also been created.

At the question and answer event, he said that the prospect of Scotland not being allowed to enter the European Union “appears preposterous”.

He added that the UK government’s refusal to let Scotland use the pound would also change if Scotland voted for independence.

Speaking to the Press and Journal before the event, Mr Swinney defended his plans to borrow billions of pounds in the first few years of an independent Scotland.

He said that increasing investment would promote better productivity which in turn would contribute to public finances.

He said: “It is a virtuous circle of borrowing to invest and create growth within the economy.”

Mr Swinney also backed the A9 Inverness to Perth average speed cameras as a way of reducing accidents.

He said: “There are short term issues in relation to road safety and the road safety group had a good look at what factors and measures could improve safety on the A9 in its current form.

“There will be an evaluation undertaken of the effectiveness of the average speed camera. If you look at examples of where cameras are in place in other parts of the country, there are enormous differences in road safety, with significant improvements.”

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