Embarrassment for Labour after own internal report admits Scotland 3rd richest part of UK … without oil

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  By Martin Kelly
 
Scotland is substantially wealthier than almost every other part of the UK, even without oil, according to Scottish Labour’s own Devolution Commission, the SNP has said.
 
The SNP has released details of a report compiled by Johann Lamont’s group which shows that even without north sea revenue, Scotland is the third richest part of the UK.

The document – compiled by Labour’s Devolution Commission – contains two graphs which the SNP has said effectively makes the economic case for a Yes vote, by admitting that Scotland has got what it takes to be an independent country.

Two key graphs [click to enlarge] showing that “Scotland is the third richest part of the UK” – behind only regions in London, the south and east of England – were welcomed by Jamie Hepburn MSP, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee.

“Labour’s Commission report has fallen to pieces in relation to devolution, but it makes an important point about Scotland’s opportunities as an independent country.

“It highlights that Scotland is more than wealthy enough to be independent – with decisions taken in Scotland rather than by Westminster.” said the MSP

Mr Hepburn added: “To quote Labour’s document, ‘Scotland is the third richest part of the UK’ – behind only regions in London and south and east of England – and that is without a drop of oil included in Scotland’s economic output. With Scotland’s North Sea resources included, our wealth per head is substantially higher than the UK’s.”

The emergence of the graphs will prove embarrassing to the Scottish Labour party after a lacklustre conference which saw the unveiling of the party’s more-powers offer to Scots should they vote No in the referendum.

However party leader Johann Lamont struggled to explain how Labour’s much vaunted tax powers would work when quizzed in a BBC interview.  There were also claims that the Scottish Labour leader’s initial proposals for the devolution of full income tax powers had been vetoed by London.

Lamont was also slammed for a keynote speech in which she appeared to make distasteful references to First Minister Alex Salmond’s marriage and his view of women and children.

Alluding to the relentless negativity from Unionist parties and Scotland’s significant contribution to the UK Exchequer, Jamie Hepburn added: “The Westminster parties have been unable to come up with a positive vision for Scotland, and this report by the Labour Party only serves to reinforce the compelling case for a Yes vote.

“Scotland has raised more tax per head than the UK for every one of the past 33 years.

“Only a Yes vote and independence will enable Scotland to become a fairer and more prosperous country, with the wealth of Scotland working for all the people who live here.”