Scotland’s control over a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and marine energy has helped it become one of the world’s wealthiest nations, according to new analysis released today.
The new figures from the Scottish Government show that Scotland with its broad base of economic strengths would be ranked as the 14th wealthiest nation per head within the OECD, the grouping of the world’s richest countries.
The updated research shows that including North Sea output, Scotland’s GDP per capita in 2012 was 11 per cent above that of the UK which is ranked 18th out of the 34 OECD countries. Both Scotland and the UK maintain their rankings compared to updated international comparisons for 2011.
The rankings are dominated by small independent countries with 7 of the top ten nations in the OECD in 2012 having populations of less than 10 million people.
The research complements work by the Financial Times which ranked Scotland as the 19th wealthiest nation in the world, compared to the UK in 23rd place and comes after ratings agency Standard and Poor’s confirmed an independent Scotland would qualify for its “highest economic assessment".
Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney confirmed the figures in a speech to Edinburgh University on the economic opportunities of independence.
He said: “There is no doubt that Scotland can more than afford to be a successful independent nation. With our vast natural resources, skilled work force and broad-based industrial strengths, Scotland performs strongly against international competitors.
“This analysis shows that an independent Scotland would be the 14th wealthiest nation per head within the OECD compared to that of the UK which is ranked 18th and with the powers of independence we would be able to harness that wealth for the benefit of people in Scotland.
“Seven of the top 10 countries in the OECD have populations of less than 10 million people, demonstrating what can be achieved by small independent countries with the powers to manage their own economies.
“Scotland has five of the world’s top 200 universities, a booming food and drink industry worth over £13bn a year, a huge market for tourism, 25% of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy and growing potential in areas like life science, low carbon manufacturing and in our rural and island economies.
“These strengths have ensured Scotland paid more in tax per head than the rest of the UK in each and every one of the last 32 years and that over the last five years Scotland is estimated to have been in a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK.
“Independence will allow us to build on this position of strength – using economic levers to establish an industrial strategy, promote manufacturing, innovation and productivity; to get more people into work and to truly tackle inequality in our society.”