IN less than a year’s time Brexit is going to happen – and it’s looking like a chaotic departure, hitting jobs, wages and living standards for generations.

We owe it to future generations to say we looked at, discussed and examined whether there is a different, better future.

The Sustainable Growth Commission has been investigating what can be done with the current powers of the Scottish Parliament, what could be achieved with more powers and what more we could do with the full powers of independence.

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Scotland is a rich and successful country. We have a wealth of talent and resources. We are energy rich, our universities are world-class, we have a worldwide reputation for quality food and drink and an outstanding tourism sector. We are at the cutting edge of the industries of the future.

The commission decided to start our work by comparing Scotland with independent countries of similar size – finding small countries have tended to outperform larger countries.

When we looked at a specific group of 12 advanced small independent countries, we found out that on average they were £4100 richer per person than Scotland.

As we look at the UK economy it flies on the one engine of London and the South East producing the most unequally performing economy in the industrialised world – the commission does not believe that such an unbalanced economic model is the best future for Scotland.

We’re proposing what we’re calling a Next Generation Economic Model for Scotland, looking to the future, rooted in Scotland’s strengths and drawing on the best of three independent countries in particular; Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

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We think it’s a reasonable ambition to catch up with the average annual growth rate of those other small advanced economies within the next 10 years and that doing so can transform Scotland.

To reach the average national income per head is likely to take longer – but we owe it to future generations to set them on that path.

Doing so requires us to look at three big drivers of economic growth and well-being: population, productivity and participation – the three “Ps”.

We need to grow the population, especially in light of Brexit which poses a real danger to our working-age population. Migrants have had a hugely positive impact to our economy – and independence would give us the chance to put together measures to attract even more international talent to Scotland. This could include incentives for graduates to stay and work here, to making it easier for people with business start-up ideas.

On productivity, we found that Scotland has outperformed the UK average – but other small independent countries do much better, boosting living standards and wages. A key part of this is increasing exports.

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Our economy needs to be more international – particularly as Brexit hits. It makes no sense to leave the European single market – the world’s wealthiest with 500 million people, eight-times the size of the UK. Increasing exports to this market could boost our productivity, GDP and tax intake.

And independence would mean a dedicated Ministry of Trade, a world-wide commercial embassy network and control over financial incentives, indeed an export strategy with the full range of powers available to other successful nations.

And on participation – a more equal society goes hand in hand with a strong economy. With full control over social security and employment, we adapt Denmark’s ‘flexicurity’ model for Scotland – helping protect employee rights, and over time combine flexible labour market policies with high levels of unemployment benefit and access to employment officers and education – helping more people into work and improving job security.

One central feature of other countries’ success has been building consensus around a long term cross-partisan strategy, making quality of life as important as growth and being welcoming to migrants and we hope Scotland can emulate that, taking international examples and making them our own.

Our commission doesn’t have all the answers, and I welcome views from business, trade unions, voluntary groups and individuals on what we’ve done and what further ideas we should look at.

But there’s no question that if we work together Scotland, with all our talent and resources, has a case for optimism as we look to the future.