A LEADING global economist has backed independence, saying Scotland should go it alone rather than stay tied to the UK’s “rapidly imploding” growth model.

Mark Blyth, who was born in Dundee and is now professor of international political economy at Brown University in Rhode Island, tweeted that he was always getting asked about his views on independence, adding “I’m for it”.

The Ivy League professor told the Sunday National he had previously been in two minds about Scotland breaking ties with the rest of the UK, but had now shifted to a position of thinking it is a “good idea”.

“There are real fiscal challenges getting there that cannot be wished away,” he said.

“But the long-term costs of staying tied to the UK’s rapidly imploding growth model are just as bad.”

In his tweet — which was shared by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon — Blyth also described the UK growth model as “unsustainable”.

He added: “Scotland can do better than simply subsist on inter-regional transfers.”

Blyth pointed to a commentary by economist and former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, who headed the party’s sustainable growth commission, as being the factor which “tipped me over the edge”.

It followed the publication of the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) statistics last week, which showed spending in Scotland amounted to £15.1 billion more than ministers received in revenues.

In response Wilson wrote that he did not dispute that the deficit – as estimated within the UK model – is higher than that in other small countries which Scotland would wish to emulate under independence.

But he added: “The GERS assessment reflects a structural problem with the UK: it is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. Every region and nation outside the southeast and east runs a large deficit on this measure.

“This is not cause for celebration but a clear sign that the UK is not working for most of the country.”

Wilson also said that the prospectus for independence will now have to reflect the realities of Covid-19, but “few now dispute Scotland is capable of becoming an independent country.”

“No-one is suggesting it will be easy. It will take hard work, clever thinking and a clear transition plan. It will be an effort. That effort will be worth it,” he concluded.

Blyth is the author of Austerity: The History of A Dangerous Idea and co-author of the recently published book Angrynomics, which explores the global economy and “rising tide of anger” in the world.

Speaking in a BBC Radio Scotland interview earlier this month, he said there is “no doubt” Scotland could be independent.

But he said it would mean “not being dishonest” about the costs and the country needing to have its own currency.

He said: “On the question of, ‘Could you do this?’ Of course you could. This is a dynamic, innovative, small, well-governed country.

“The question is, ‘how much costs are you willing to bear to get from where you are now to where you want to be?’ That’s the only question that matters.”

The Tories last week claimed the Gers figures were a “hammer blow” to independence.