Financial Times – An Independent Scotland will be better off from Day 1

I wonder how many members of the ‘Better Together’ campaign choked on their cornflakes recently on reading that the ‘Bible’ of their self-styled ‘Intelligentsia’ – The Financial Times – had published details of how successful Scotland would be from Day 1 of obtaining Independence.

Unfortunately for them, this news will not go away  – I quote verbatim:

“Among the blizzard of contention and spin that surrounds the independence debate, some points of broad consensus are clear. Nationalists argue that being part of the UK has held Scotland back, while their opponents contend that the union has been central to its economic success. But the leading players on both sides accept that Scotland has all the ingredients to be a viable nation state.

“If its geographic share of UK oil and gas output is taken into account, Scotland’s GDP per head is bigger than that of France. Even excluding the North Sea’s hydrocarbon bounty, per capita GDP is higher than that of Italy. Oil, whisky and a broad range of manufactured goods mean an independent Scotland would be one of the world’s top 35 exporters.

“An independent Scotland could also expect to start with healthier state finances than the rest of the UK. Although Scotland enjoys public spending well above the UK average – a source of resentment among some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the cost to the Treasury is more than outweighed by oil and gas revenues from Scottish waters.

“One of the favourite citations touted by the nationalist Yes Scotland campaign is a quote from a 2007 Daily Telegraph article by David Cameron, now UK prime minister, that argued there was no point in trying to keep Scotland inside the union ‘through fear of the economic consequences‘ of leaving. ‘Supporters of independence will always be able to cite examples of small, independent and thriving economies across Europe such as Finland, Switzerland and Norway,’ Mr Cameron wrote. ‘It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country‘.”

Analysing the Financial Times figures is both fascinating and revealing.  Their calculations are shown in clear graphics, and so immune to any ambiguous interpretation. This is equivalent to £1,321 a year for every man, woman and child in the country, or £5,812 a year for the classic 2.4 children nuclear family.

Using Westminster’s own data, it shows that immediately on becoming Independent all Scots will be 11% better off.  That works out at around £7 billion a year.   In simple terms, this eclipses the figure of £824 a year for every Scot as revealed by the UK Government’s own GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures for 2011/12 published in April 2013. [1]

Source: “Independence debate: Yes, Scotland?” by Mure Dickie and Keith Fray, Financial Times, February 2, 2014

[1] Please see my subsequent blog “GERS Report 2012-13” for an update on the GERS figures.

See also:  More blogs by John Jappy