SCOTLAND is one of the richest countries in the world.

It’s in the top 25 global economies in terms of income per capita and, according to the Office for National Statistics, has at least 34% of the UK’s total natural wealth, including wind, water, timber, oil and gas.

But thanks to Unionist rhetoric, many underestimate the economy and the country’s abilities.

Last year’s GERS figures, which estimate our tax and spending, showed that Scotland had a deficit of £13.4 billion – or the equivalent of 7.9% of GDP.

First of all, it’s perfectly normal for countries to run a small budget deficit.

Out of the 28 EU nations in 2018, half of them spent more than they raised in taxes.

Yes, Scotland would have to improve its financial position to match these other independent countries, but the key point to remember here is that our current finances reflect our position within the UK, not as an independent country. In fact, our notional deficit is a strong argument for change, not more of the same. The real focus would be on maintaining sustainable public finances.

The UK economy is wildly imbalanced in favour of London and the south-east. The Treasury makes decisions not for the benefit of the people of Scotland, but for the benefit of people living in England (and mostly in the south).

While the Scottish Government has recently gained responsibility for limited tax and welfare powers, it lacks the real levers necessary to take full economic control. That includes immigration policy, for example – the Home Office’s “hostile environment” towards migrants will, research suggests, cost us tax income, job creation and even threaten the sustainability of services and remote and rural communities.

Independence would enable the Scottish Parliament to do what every other nation does – choose its own priorities.

That means focusing spending on the areas that matter, like social security, and ending commitments to wasteful projects like Trident renewal.

That scheme, put at more than £50bn by the National Audit Office, will consume 25% of the Ministry of Defence’s 10-year equipment plan.

The SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour all oppose the system – and the decision to spend Scottish taxpayers’ money on it.

But with defence a reserved matter, they’re powerless to stop it.

So sticking with Britain will cost us all, and the only way to spear the Trident project – and remove nuclear weapons from the Clyde – is to vote for independence.

Anti-nuclear campaigner Bill Kidd MSP – co-president of the international Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) group, which covers more than 75 nations – said: “The cost of Trident renewal is enormous and unjustifiable, particularly when the Tories have slashed public spending elsewhere.

“It is increasingly obvious that the UK Government’s single-minded obsession with nuclear weapons is going to come at a huge cost to our conventional defence.

“Independence will mean a Scotland free of nuclear weapons, rather than paying through the nose for these wasteful and immoral weapons.”

The reality is that the risks to Scottish pensions, services, jobs and businesses all come from a single source – continued membership of the United Kingdom.

That’s because it’s the UK that is on course to crash out of Europe, regardless of the will of the Scottish people. And that’s a very live example of the fact that it is in London, not Edinburgh, that power really resides.

Of course, part of how we see the country’s fortunes is about how the figures are spun.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Tory MP Liz Truss said she had given £737 million of extra cash to Holyrood due to a shortfall in income tax revenues. However, that money in fact represents a settlement of the sum that was already taken from block grant funding due to a forecasting error.

But that rhetoric of dependency has long been at the heart of the Unionist argument. It’s time to see it for what it is.


Our current financial position is based on Scotland’s position in the Union, not as an independent country. With the levers of independence, we can stimulate and grow our economy to match that of our small successful neighbours. An independent Scotland would also never have to pay for its share in hugely expensive projects like the renewal of the UK’s nuclear weapons. Staying in the Union will cost Scotland access to its fastest growing market, cut off labour supplies and reduce the tax take. That’s not a price worth paying.

This article is part of our BUSTED supplement, debunking nine Unionist myths about Scottish independence. It was made possible by support for our 10,000 Steps campaign – if you haven't yet subscribed to The National, click here to find out how it'll help us boost the case for Yes directly.