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As a result of us hitting 6000 subscribers, we reached a key milestone in our 10,000 Steps campaign – and are now producing monthly supplements targeted at winning over No voters. In the first of these, we explain why Scotland is Big Enough, Rich Enough, and Smart Enough. Check out our 10,000 Steps campaign page to see our next milestones.

RICH in natural resources and human capital, Scotland is the birthplace of the industrial revolution and a hotbed of entrepreneurship which has contributed massive amounts of wealth to the UK economy – just ask the oil and gas sector.

Of course, the North Sea’s fortunes have ebbed and flowed in recent years as the price of crude wavered. But even when the bill-per-barrel dropped, our oil-rich neighbour Norway generated more than £29 thousand million in revenues during a period when the UK lost £23m.

So, what’s the difference? Policy. As well as taxing multinationals like Shell at the same time the UK was giving them rebates, Norway benefited from its oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

The £829 billion pot was established by the government to protect and grow the wealth created by its oil and gas sector for future generations.

READ MORE: Why Scotland is SMART ENOUGH to thrive as an independent country

Despite repeated calls, no such action has been taken by the UK, where the IPPR thinktank says the industry contributed £166bn in taxes in the 1980s alone. And if Westminster had set up a Norway-style fund back then, Scotland would have at least £100bn in the bank by now – that’s according to Jim Cuthbert, a former chief statistician to the Scottish Office.

Writing in The National in March, the economist, who also worked for the Treasury, said the cash has been “effectively misappropriated”.

And the 1974 McCrone Report – written for the UK Government and kept from the public for 30 years – told how the discovery of North Sea oil had “completely overturned the traditional economic arguments used against Scottish nationalism” and predicted that an independent Scotland would amass “embarrassing” wealth from oil.

That was in 1974, this is 2019, and while an estimated 11.9bn barrels remain untapped, Scotland is leading the way in the UK renewables sector.

READ MORE: Why Scotland is BIG ENOUGH to thrive as an independent country

Aside from fuel, Scotland’s international exports rose to £32.4bn in 2017, recording the highest annual growth rate since 2011.

Meanwhile, exports to the rest of the UK brought in another £48.9bn that year thanks to demand for the service and financial sectors.

Far from resting on oil and gas, Scotland has a diverse economy with particular strengths in manufacturing and food and drink – you won’t see anti-independence voices repeat that.

Without full control over our finances, Scotland can’t take full benefit from its economic activity, and our taxes are used to fund things we don’t want or can’t use. Like replacing Trident, a nuclear weapons system based just outside our most populous city, and England’s forthcoming high-speed railway, which will not reach our border.

According to the Office for National Statistics, Scotland’s natural resources – including wind, water, timber, oil and gas – are worth £273bn. The figure was worked out for 2015, when oil prices were way down. Now they’re back up again.

But it means Scotland, which has 8.4% of the UK’s population, has at least 34% of its total natural wealth. Meanwhile, our citizens and institutions are driving development in science and industry.

And that adds up to something – we’re rich enough to run our own affairs.

Scotland in numbers


Scotland’s natural water resource has a huge value. As of 2014, lochs alone were estimated to contribute between around £1.4bn and £1.5bn a year to our economy.

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Scotch whisky is beloved around the world, which is why its export value grew by 7.8% last year to reach £4.7bn.


Thanks to our world-class salmon, beef and whisky, and the promotion of Scotland The Brand, Scottish food and drink exports were worth a record £6.3bn to our economy in 2018.


Scotland’s historic, cultural and natural offerings attract more than three million visitors to the country in 2017, who in turn spent £2.276bn.


Scotland is full of innovative and successful businesses … as of March 2019, there were 345,915 private sector firms operating in the country.

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Forget Avengers or Avatar – Grand Theft Auto is the biggest selling entertainment product in history. Rockstar North, the team behind the franchise, are based in Edinburgh.

Top of the game

FROM Lemmings to Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft to Red Dead Redemption, Scotland is a major player in the video games sector.

Dundee is the unofficial capital of UK gaming, thanks to the EU-leading training available at Abertay University, and is home to companies including Outplay Entertainment, the largest independent mobile developer in these islands.

More than 1500 staff are working across 80 companies, and in 2018 they contributed £194 million to the UK’s gross domestic product, according to industry body TIGA.

And Grand Theft Auto V, the latest in a series originated by the team at Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, has made more money than any film, book or gaming title ever released.


THINK the World Cup draws a crowd? Edinburgh’s festivals are bigger, according to official figures.

More than 4.5 million people attended the capital’s cultural festivals in 2015, taking in world-class and cutting-edge performances by poets, playwrights, and puppeteers. Comedy, contemporary dance, classical music – it’s all on offer every year, right here in Scotland, and audiences travel from around the globe to be a part of it. The city’s festivals include not only summer events, but also its renowned Hogmanay celebrations.

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These events not only educate and entertain locals and visitors alike, but they also showcase Scotland as a destination and cultural powerhouse.


FILM and TV production spending hit almost £100 million in 2017. The country has played its part in everything from superhero blockbusters to historical dramas – Avengers: Infinity War was partly made here, as was TV thriller The Cry and Sky Atlantic series Patrick Melrose.

Time-travel show Outlander, Netflix production Outlaw King and Saoirse Ronan movie Mary Queen Of Scots also took advantage of the country’s rich scenery and strong infrastructure. Where once stories set in Scotland were shot in Ireland or other places, Screen Scotland, a dedicated arm of Creative Scotland, is working to reverse that trend and even win shoots from international rivals. Dumfries recently stood in for Connecticut for Glenn Close movie The Wife, while Glasgow acted as New York for the filming of Patrick Melrose, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s hoped that the action will be worth £160m by 2022.

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Wealthy nation

Norway’s oil fund is worth more than one TRILLION dollars … meanwhile, the UK has refused to keep any revenue for future generations. But there are still 11.9 billion barrels of oil left in the North Sea – and new fields are being discovered all the time.

Skyscanner was founded in Edinburgh – and the flight-checking website was sold for £1.4 BILLION three years ago.

Film and TV production contributes £100 million to Scotland’s economy – and that is set to rocket in the coming years.

More than 4.5 million people attend Edinburgh’s cultural festivals – from all over the world.

Richest man in the world

DUNFERMLINE-BORN industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s name has become a byword for wealth, business and philanthropy.

At the peak of his wealth, the steel tycoon had a fortune equivalent to more than twice that of Bill Gates.

Carnegie and wife Louise Whitfield endeavoured to give away what he had made, establishing a network of more than 2500 libraries as well as colleges and non-profit organisations.

His interest in public libraries was based on a belief in access to education. Carnegie had missed out on schooling, but borrowed books from a retired merchant called Colonel Anderson and learned that way.

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland continues to make grants to students and academics, and the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust makes awards to social, sport, community and leisure projects in that area. Meanwhile, the Carnegie UK Trust works to influence public policy to improve life and work.