Concerned about Scotland's economy?

Scotland 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.

The problem
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 expectancy.

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 in Scotland.

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.

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