Last Wednesday, Sir Tom Hunter published a report his Hunter Foundation ordered from the Oxford Economics consulting firm. The report is equally inspirational and helpful, and, if re-elected, I think many are eager to cooperate with people like Sir Tom to reach our shared ambitions.
The Hunter Foundation’s report compares Scotland to other equivalently sized economies. And the report is correct – we comfortably fit into the category of a fully developed economy.
Among the world’s rich and advanced nations, seven of the ten wealthiest economies are of a similar size or even smaller than Scotland’s economy. If countries like Ireland and Denmark can be economically well developed and evolved, why not us?
The other finding that catches attention in the report is that other economic powers with an economy the size of Scotland’s tend to be on the up and up and happy.
The Hunter Foundation’s report may not have intended to reach this conclusion, but it did two things: it indicated the inherent inequalities of the union’s economy, and it made what I believe is a persuasive case for independence.
Yet we must not get so comfy because Scotland will face decisive challenges. But it will get on well in a UK context when you dismiss London, too often the primary economic focus of Tory governments.
Sir Tom’s report calls attention to slow population growth, the importance of welcoming new and young foreign workforce, and related difficulties that came along with Brexit.
Right now, the ability to receive loans and to attract investments, as well as our power to attract a skilled and bright workforce through migration, are cramped because they are controlled by the Tory government. And, as for Brexit, the Scottish people strongly rejected it, yet one of the intolerable Brexits possible is being pressed on us.
Nicola Sturgeon agrees we need progressive, pioneering policies to secure a strong and safe recovery, which is why the government has set out a National Infrastructure Mission which will see capital investment increase drastically soon, as well as the Scottish National Investment Bank, to expend in flourishing businesses, increase investment in R&D for entrepreneurs and to start pioneering plans to transform Scotland’s tech sector.
Our government has already introduced the nonpartisan, even-handed, most forward-going income tax in the Union, set the most aspiring climate change goals in the world, investing in new low-carbon industries, and bring forth confidence and strength by expanding 100 per cent non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality, entertainment and aviation businesses for the whole of next financial year. And our platform will outline further inspiring policies to reconstruct our country’s economy.
Even those in favour of the union and politicians who still believe that the Westminster government should dictate Scotland’s future freely confess Scotland has what it takes to be an independent country. Our Success will, for sure, depend on Scotland’s endeavors toward progress and the decisions we democratically make.
By comparing our country to other developed nations, we see that these instances, coupled with our superabundant resources and genius, denote the potential our people have to build a more thriving and democratic country.
Our country is already a wealthy one – our national income is more than £170 billion. With a simple comparison, that makes the Scottish people wealthier than people living in developed countries like New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Italy.
The Scottish people are well educated and bright. Our academies, schools, and universities are among the very best in the union and the world. The number of young people with college or university degrees is among the highest in Europe and the world.
Let’s make Scotland great once and for all.