By Martin Kelly
A newly independent Scotland would have a better Human Development Index (HDI) than the rest of the UK, even without oil, a leading international finance company has said.
A report by Credit Suisse has concluded that on key areas of life expectancy, education, and income a newly independent Scotland would be ranked higher than the rest of the United Kingdom.
According to the report’s authors, an independent Scotland would be ranked four places higher than the rUK.
The report said: “Scotland would rank 23rd if we include a geographical allocation to Scotland’s GNI [Gross National Income] related to the North Sea oil output, versus the current 27th place for the UK and the hypothetical 30th for the UK ex-Scotland. Note that even excluding any allocation of oil output, Scotland would still rank ahead of the UK, but just so.”
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.
The Credit Suisse report ‘The Success of Small Countries,’ compared the success of small countries with that of larger nations.
It said: “Small countries are more homogeneous and homogeneity plays an important role in determining the success of a country. Cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity creates a ceiling to the potential size of a country. Homogeneous countries tend to have higher HDI scores.
“We also found that small countries are more open to international trade or have embraced globalization to a higher extent than larger countries.”
Despite warning that “small countries are more open to international trade or have embraced globalization to a higher extent than larger countries”, the report also said that “small countries are successful and in general better off than bigger countries.”
The report also cast doubt on claims that public services in larger countries benefit from ‘pooling resources’ and the ‘economies of scale’.
The authors said: “Our research shows that large countries tend to have higher tax rates for individuals (by 5%). So the cost of funding public services for the individual is higher in larger countries than in small countries.”
Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Michael O’Sullivan from the Credit Suisse Research Institute also explained small countries are one of the “leading geo-political trends of the last fifty years.”
The report and comments were welcomed by SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP who said the findings highlighted Scotland’s potential to flourish under independence.
Commenting, Mr Hosie said:
“These comments are very welcome. Using academic data, the report sets out Scotland’s potential and how our development rating would outperform the UK- even without oil- following a Yes vote.
“The report also found that smaller countries are better able to ‘effectively’ and ‘cheaply’ deliver public services, and most of the small countries mentioned do not have nearly as many of the resources we have here in Scotland.
“This highlights once again that Scotland is perfectly positioned to flourish as an independent nation. We would be able to concentrate on our talents, grow our economy and build a better and fairer society following a Yes vote.”