By Bob Duncan
Scotland has been wealthier than the rest of the UK for every single year since 1980, new analysis of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures has shown.
The figures, obtained from the UK and Scottish Governments and released by the SNP, show that on average Scotland’s GDP per head has been £1,905 (14.34%) higher than that of the rest of the UK – and that gap has grown to £3,804 (16.62%) per head since the Scottish National Party came to office in 2007.
The report shows that between 1980 and 2006, Scots were almost 12% more productive than those in the rest of the UK, producing on average £1415 more per person. Even in the worst year since records began, 1989, Scotland outperformed the rUK by almost £600 per head.
This premium has increased even further since the SNP government first came to power in 2007, despite the recession which has plagued UK production and growth over most of this period. During this time, Scots have been nearly one sixth more productive than their English, Welsh and Northern Irish neighbours, producing an average of more than £3800 extra GDP per head every year.
This difference in GDP per head represents part of the subsidy which Scotland has consistently paid to the London Exchequer each and every year for more than the last three decades. And £3800 per annum in GDP means more than £1600 per head in taxes, without a single tax rise being required.
The numbers show that, on day one of independence, Scots would start with an immediate one sixth advantage over the rest of the UK. Added to this would be the savings that come from not having to pay, for example, for Trident, or the new London sewage system or the refurbishment of Westminster Palace.
The figures come as a bitter blow to anti-independence campaigners who have constantly argued that Scotland would be worse off being a normal independent nation, and finally demolishes the often-repeated myth of Scots as ‘subsidy junkies’.
They show that Scotland not only does far more than pay her way at the moment, but that she has done so routinely for more than a generation, subsidising the UK economy by trillions of pounds.
Kenneth Gibson, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, said:
“These figures totally demolish the bogus claims of the anti-independence parties, because they prove once and for all that Scotland more than pays its own way in the UK.
“Even during the Thatcher years with the closure of some of Scotland’s biggest industries, productivity continued to be higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
“On average, Scots were more than 14% more productive per head than their counterparts in the rest of the UK since 1980, equal to £1,905 per person.
“The figures have improved further since the SNP took office in 2007, which underlines the hard work being done by the Scottish Government to improve the Scottish economy even with the relatively limited financial powers currently available.
“With the full economic powers Scotland would have as an independent country we will do even better still, with the ability to boost recovery, create jobs and deliver a wealthier and fairer society.
“The questions are now stacking up for the anti-independence parties and the No campaign which has real questions to answer about the credibility of their campaign.”
Only last week, the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch Website reported: “There is now little dispute that Scotland on its own can be a viable economy…The claim that a penurious Scotland is a subsidy junkie has already been proved a myth.”
SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, said of the report:
“More and more informed opinions across the world recognise that Scotland can stand on its own two feet – the case for Scotland is strengthening all the time.
“Scotland is country rich in natural resources, big on skills, attractive to foreign investors and a world leader in renewable energy.
“As the Wall Street Journal points out, it is objectively the case that Scotland pays more in taxes to the UK Treasury than it receives in expenditure.
“The longer that the anti-independence parties continue to talk Scotland down, the further they will alienate themselves from the people of Scotland.”
Scottish National Accounts Project – http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/SNAP/expstats/aggregates/GDPlongrun
Scottish population – http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/population/estimates/mid-year/time-series.html
UK population – http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pop-estimate/population-estimates-for-uk–england-and-wales–scotland-and-northern-ireland/population-estimates-timeseries-1971-to-current-year/index.html