Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has blasted as “nonsensical” recent comments by British Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith on an independent Scotland’s inability to pay its welfare bill.
Salmond also warned that such comments can damage the process of talks between London and Edinburgh on the details of the independence referendum led by his Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) government.
Duncan Smith earlier claimed that an independent Scotland would not afford its welfare bills except by raising taxes and cutting benefits.
Salmond made the remarks after holding talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Scottish Secretary Michael Moore on the independence referendum.
Salmond said the meeting was positive but warned that the talks “could still be blown off course.”
He further stressed any strategy on the plebiscite should be “built and made in Scotland” and not dictated by London politicians calling for goodwill to make things easier.
“There was goodwill within the meeting but it’s possible that noises off, of course like IDS [Iain Duncan Smith], could still blow things off course,” Salmond said.