Sturgeon: It is time to talk about independence
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The Scottish government’s case for breaking free from the United Kingdom has been torn apart by economists just hours after being published. The First Minister today kicked off a new campaign for with the release of a document laying out the economic and social differences between Scotland and other small countries.
Analysis published by Ms Sturgeon claimed a number of small countries were “wealthier” than the UK.
It stated Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Netherland, Iceland, Sweden, Austria, Belgium and Finland were all comparatively better off than Britain.
The SNP leader claimed Scotland would be able to boost it wealth to be on a par with those listed if it held the full powers of an independent country.
The data appeared to cherry-pick small countries with a larger GDP per capita than the UK.
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Nations that faired worse than Britain were left off the list.
British economist Julian Jessop told Express.co.uk: “Average incomes are higher in some countries than in the UK, but also lower in many others.
“These figures tell us precisely nothing about whether Scotland would be better off as an independent nation.”
Professor Patrick Minford described the Scottish government’s analysis as “ridiculous”, saying there was little point in measuring the UK against the other countries included.
He said: “It is ridiculous to compare the UK economy with a population of nearly 70 million with a baker’s dozen of small countries with relatively small populations.
“The challenges the UK faces are much bigger, not least as the biggest contributor to NATO, on which all these countries rely; with a large population there are also huge variations of skill and need, all of which the UK must provide jobs and social welfare for.
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“The result is record low unemployment and success in achieving good income equality after tax and benefits.
“As part of all this, the UK supports Scotland with a net transfer of 10 percent or more of Scottish GDP.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Hague, chairman of the pro-UK think tank These Islands, accused the SNP-led government of deliberately fudging the figures.
He said the findings were “statistical gerrymandering presented as analysis”.
The entrepreneur added: “The comparator countries have been selected because they have higher GDP capita than the UK – that’s why (for example) Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic are not included.”
Making her pitch this afternoon, Ms Sturgeon claimed forecasts of low growth and high inflation in the coming years are “guaranteed” if Scotland remains within the UK.
“The question is then: do we just accept that, or do we look at comparator countries that have all been dealing with the same challenges in terms of Covid and the wider issues around cost of living that the UK is and are performing much better?” she asked.
“And do we decide that the sooner we get onto that path, then the earlier we will work our way towards the kind of success that they enjoy.”
The Scottish government has put aside £20million of taxpayer money to prepare for a new referendum.
Today’s document is the first in a series Ms Sturgeon is planning to publish in the coming weeks making the case for independence.
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