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British government tells Scots staying in UK is worth 1,400 pounds each

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[May 28, 2014]  EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scots will each be 1,400 pounds ($2,400) a year better off if they vote to remain part of the United Kingdom, Britain's deputy finance minister Danny Alexander said on Wednesday.

Alexander put his case for Scots to oppose independence in a referendum of Sept. 18, shortly after Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said an independent Scotland's public finances would be at least as strong as the rest of the United Kingdom's.

"By staying together, Scotland's future will be safer, with stronger finances and a more progressive society," Alexander said. "It means a UK dividend of 1,400 pounds a year for every man, woman and child in Scotland."

Salmond said that if Scotland had full powers to run its economy without interference from London, it would be 5 billion pounds a year richer by 2030 - something Alexander dismissed as a "bogus bonus".

"They're desperately trying to distract attention from that fundamental question ... that there simply wouldn't be the same level of resources available for public services if Scotland were independent," Alexander said.

Scottish nationalists differ sharply with anti-independence campaigners on likely future tax revenue from North Sea oil, as well as whether an independent Scotland would be able to boost producitivty and slow the aging of Scotland's population. ($1 = 0.5952 British Pounds)

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, additional reporting by William James, writing by David Milliken)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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