By Martin Kelly
Analysis of OECD figures has revealed an independent Scotland would be in a better position to tackle poverty than as part of the UK.
International GDP per head rankings has shown Scotland would be the 14th most wealthy country by GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita - at $39,642 per head, ahead of France, Japan and the United Kingdom as a whole.
OECD rankings show that France’s GDP per head is $2,709 lower than Scotland, the UK’s GDP is $3,971 lower per head than Scotland, and Japan’s GDP is $4,160 lower per head than Scotland. The SNP has said the figures underline how wealthy a country Scotland is - and confirms the opportunity to make Scotland’s wealth work for everyone in Scotland that a Yes vote creates.
According to the nationalists, despite this economic wealth, levels of poverty in Scotland have increased dramatically as a result of Westminster’s austerity agenda. Statistics this month showed that there are now one million people in Scotland living in relative poverty.
Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:
"Scotland is an immensely wealthy country and these figures only underline just how that wealth compares internationally.
"Scotland’s GDP per head is significantly better than major economies like France, Japan and the UK as a whole."
The figures challenge a recent BBC report which appeared to claim that Scotland’s GDP per-head is less than that of the UK as a whole. The article caused controversy after it emerged the original, which had been altered by the BBC, had shown Scotland with a healthier GDP.
Mr Gibson added: "Clearly, Scotland more than has what it takes to be a successful, independent country.
"The opportunity that a Yes vote brings is the chance to use that wealth so that it benefits people across Scotland, instead of propping up Treasury balance sheets to waste on things like Trident nuclear weapons.
"Where Westminster has been content to see poverty spiral out of control amid brutal welfare cuts, a Yes vote in September gives us the chance to harness Scotland’s resources to the benefit of people living here.
"A Yes vote gives us the tools we need to make Scotland the fairer, more prosperous country we all want to live in."