Figures released by the Scottish Government show that an independent Scotland would be more prosperous than the rest of the UK, ranked six places ahead of the UK in a table of European countries.
The table, which rates countries by GDP, was based on figures published by Eurostat in March this year and takes into account Scotland’s resources from those UK controlled regions that will fall under Scottish control come independence.
SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson’s parliamentary question revealed that the UK would rank 11th in the table, compared with Scotland’s fifth place.
The estimate was produced using data from Eurostat, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the National Records of Scotland (NRS), and the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP).
The new figures come on top of official Scottish Government figures that indicate, with independence, Scotland would climb to sixth position in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) wealth per capita league table – where the UK is currently ranked sixteenth.
According to the newly released figures, the four countries ranked at the top of the Euro league table all have populations significantly lower than that of the UK, with two of then having populations smaller than Scotland.
• 1. Luxembourg – Half a million
• 2. Netherlands – Seventeen million
• 3. Ireland – Four and a half million
• 4. Austria – Eight million
• 5. Scotland – Five million
• 11. UK – Sixty-two million
The SNP claimed the new estimates, based on the report in March, undermined the anti-independence argument that Scotland needs to be part of a larger political state in order to survive and would be poorer than the rest of the UK.
Commenting on the original report in March which contained figures for the UK only, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “This is a very significant report and really exposes recent false SNP claims about what the finances of Scotland would look like if we separated.
“This research blows apart Alex Salmond’s claim that Scotland would be wealthier than the rest of the United Kingdom ….”
Responding to the new figures, which included the calculated GDP of an independent Scotland, Mr Gibson said:
“These official figures yet again show the wealth of Scotland and demolish the credibility of the anti-independence attempts to talk down Scotland’s economy and ability to make decisions for itself.
“The example of other successful small independent European nations is an overwhelming vote of confidence in the economic case for an independent Scotland.
“Official figures already show that Scotland continues to contribute more to the UK Treasury than we receive in public spending. In 2010/11, Scotland generated 9.6% of UK revenues with 8.4% of the population.
“Despite the Tory-Labour anti-independence pact twisting the figures to talk Scotland down – by omitting Scotland’s share of its oil and gas reserves – they are a glowing endorsement of the case for independence. The Tory-Labour twins are now left looking foolish by their attempts to distort these figures.
“With responsibility for our own finances and our own vast natural resources, we will be able to make choices in our own best interests. With independence, we would control the fiscal levers we need to suit our own economic circumstances, and maximise Scotland’s potential to secure new investment and jobs.”
The figures have been dismissed by Ken Macintosh MSP, Labour’s spokesman on finance who claimed that “most economists” treated them with scepticism.
Despite the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy, Spain, requesting financial help this weekend and the UK entering a double dip recession, Mr Macintosh also claimed that larger countries were able to weather the global financial crisis better and added:
“A few weeks ago, the SNP were widely criticised for claiming similar figures were from the OECD when in fact they were written by the SNP press office.
“The nationalists keep telling us they want Scotland to be like another country. It used to be Iceland and Ireland; now it is Luxembourg and Austria, but they can’t even tell us what currency an independent Scotland would use.”