|Concerned about Scotland's economy?
is a great place to live. It’s a great place to work.
Our landscape, our modern culture, our heritage and our people
all contribute to that.
We have abundant resources, including our people. Scots are
renowned the world over for their invention, skills and creativity.
We also have Europe’s 4th largest financial centre and
75% of the EU’s oil reserves. We produce 30% of the
branded PC’s manufactured in Europe. And we still provide
the UK treasury with one of its single biggest sources of
revenue — duty from whisky.
We live in a modern, advanced country. We should be proud.
But Scotland isn’t everything it could be. Unemployment
is too high. Living standards are too low. Our nation’s
health is amongst the worst in the world. Life expectancy
is lower than elsewhere, with poverty and poor diet causing
a higher incidence of cancer and heart disease than occurs
in most other European countries.
To Scotland’s shame 1 in 3 children, and 1 in 4 pensioners,
live in poverty. On top of that all of the UK’s nuclear
weapons are based on Scottish soil. Even our once-thriving
IT and communications sector has shed thousands of jobs over
the past few years.
Our economic growth rate is only half that of the UK, a fifth
of Ireland’s and one of the lowest in Europe. We have
the world’s most expensive fuel whilst 90% of the UK’s
oil reserves lie in our waters.
London government regards the south east of England as the
only powerhouse in the UK economy, with successive Chancellors
regarding it as their only economic priority. The south east
of England acts as a magnet for people, businesses, investment,
and growth within the UK. The area is attracting more and
more people and businesses from Scotland and it’s getting
worse. We need to make sure we are more competitive than the
south east of England, not less, so that we can overcome its
gravitational pull and start winning success for Scotland.
At the moment the Scottish Parliament can do little to change
this because it only has very limited financial powers and
is forced to operate under a uniform UK tax regime. Unless
Scotland can start taking key decisions in Scotland, our economic
decline will continue.
To reverse that decline the SNP believes we must address
the single core problem facing the Scottish economy —
the limited powers of the Scottish Parliament.
Governments can’t create wealth, but they can and do
create the conditions, which either help or hinder wealth
creation. And successive UK governments have been more of
a hindrance than a help to Scotland.
As long as we remain part of the centralised UK, we will
continue to see low growth, loss of head offices, low business
birth rates, early takeovers of promising Scottish companies,
low spending on research and development and a ‘brain
drain’ that sees us lose people and ideas to the south
east of England.
This all has a disastrous effect on Scotland’s economic
performance and on the life chances of Scottish people. It
means higher unemployment and more people on benefits, more
part-time work and short contracts, low incomes, low birth
rates, child poverty, poor diet, poor health, and lower life
To turn this around the Scottish government must be able
to use the normal economic powers our competitors take for
granted. And crucially we must focus them on creating the
competitive conditions for an enterprise economy that puts
Scotland first and creates and retains more jobs and prosperity
With the full powers of Independence we can work to deliver
a high-wage, high-skill economy with greater prosperity, better
job opportunities and more self-reliance. This will lead to
more taxpayers with higher incomes and reduced spending on
unemployment, enabling government to focus on improving public
services and delivering social justice.