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Hollywood producer: Independence would boost creative industries

Glasgow-born Iain Smith joins top chef and events expert to state the case for leaving the Union.

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An independent Scotland would be 'more competitive' on the global stage, according to a Glasgow-born Hollywood producer.

Producer Iain Smith, whose film credits include Cold Mountain and Entrapment, spoke out as the Scottish Government prepares to publish a paper on the economics of independence next week.

He said: "With all the attributes that Scotland enjoys, there are few countries that should be more confident about their economic potential than Scotland.

"Scotland's creative industries in particular have a great story to tell and a bright future. They already contribute hugely to the Scottish economy but there is plenty of room for growth, particularly in the export sector.

"With greater fiscal levers at its disposal, Scotland would be even more competitive on the world stage and able to promote its talent, crafts and services internationally for the economic and cultural benefit of the country.

"In this way Scotland would be equipped to make the most of its comparative advantages, particularly in areas like film and television, games and animation, all of which would boost jobs, raise skill levels and promote new talent."

Mr Smith was joined by chef Roy Brett, of Edinburgh's award-winning Ondine restaurant, and events expert Professor Joe Goldblatt in arguing that Scotland needs to have the range of economic powers independence would bring.

Mr Brett said: "We need to be able to decide our own priorities and solutions to the challenges around us. From restaurant VAT to fishing policy, too many decisions are out of our hands. We have to take control of our own destiny and bring decision making closer to home, with a government right here in Scotland fighting our corner. Not one 400 miles away, totally out of touch."

Prof Goldblatt, founding president of the International Special Events Society, also argued for independence, claiming Scotland would "benefit significantly" from leaving the UK.

"I am confident that as an independent nation, Scotland will soon become one of the most successful tourism destinations in the world," he said.

"This increased international visitation will foster further economic growth as international visitors see the potential for starting or relocating their businesses to Scotland.

"Therefore, in my professional opinion, an independent Scotland will become a stronger and more sustainable economic engine through future tourism investment and that is why I unreservedly support independence for one of the future tourism capitals of the world."

The Scottish Government paper will examine sectors of the economy such as life sciences, food and drink, creative industries, tourism and renewable energy.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Everyone in Scotland should have the confidence in our economy to know we can be a successful independent country.

"In the coming weeks Scotland's economic strengths, the abilities of our people, our natural resources and the opportunities Scotland can take with independence will be set out for all to see, against the economic failures of Westminster that are holding us back.

"Over the last five years the strength of Scotland's economy has ensured that as an independent nation, we would be better off to the tune of £12.6bn.

"Everyone knows we have a strong offshore oil and gas industry but Scotland is so much more than that. Our food and drink sector is booming, with a turnover of £12bn last year. Our manufacturing industry exported over £14bn-worth of goods and in creative industries, life sciences, tourism and new areas like the low-carbon economy, our talent and innovation can deliver real success."

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