A DAMNING analysis of UK income equality "reinforces findings of whitepapers" that an independent Scotland would be better off, the Scottish Parliament was told.

Following a Financial Times analysis which stated that the average Slovenian household is set to be better off than its UK counterpart by 2024, SNP MSP Emma Roddick secured a short debate on the issue on Thursday afternoon.

The motion lodged by the Highlands and Islands MSP stated that the Scottish Parliament “notes with alarm” the FT analysis showing the scale of income equality when compared to other European countries.

READ MORE: Rachael Hamilton MSP failed to disclose links with hunting to Holyrood

It added: “This analysis has reinforced the findings of the Scottish Government’s Building a New Scotland papers, which, it considers, demonstrate how independent European countries comparable to Scotland are wealthier and fairer than the UK, and considers that it is important to learn from comparator countries and create a fairer Scotland, combining economic dynamism with social solidarity.”

Roddick, in her opening remarks, said that she requested the debate as it was an important issue which is “not given enough attention”.

She told MSPs: “Just for a moment putting aside Covid, Brexit, strikes, to look at the UK as a whole and how it is functioning.

“We're living in a country whose governments have long made public policy designed to help the rich get richer to promote endless private economic growth at the expense of looking after its citizens.

“We are living in an extremely unequal society where the richest can enjoy a good life and the worst off are in dire poverty, more likely to experience serious health issues and require significant support needs.

“It's perhaps harder to see because those in the public eye, celebrities, high earners, MPs with fortunate backgrounds can seem to represent the UK in more than just TV interviews, but they do not.”

Roddick added that the FT analysis described the UK as a “poor society with some very rich people in it”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon a long way from quitting despite rumours: Andy Maciver

She added: “Half of the people in this country account for 9% of the wealth and Conservative Governments do their best to ensure that that gap keeps getting bigger.

“This is normal to us, but it is not normal.”

The SNP MSP also said that there are “alternative economic models” across Europe, and also in the Scottish Government’s series of whitepapers.

Edward Mountain, the Tory MSP, claimed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was to blame for the cost of living crisis and rising prices.

Roddick intervened to state she understood his concerns around rising electricity prices, but said it is the “job of the UK Government to step in and regulate that market”.

The National: Mountain claimed the indy whitepapers were based on 'fantasty economics'Mountain claimed the indy whitepapers were based on 'fantasty economics' (Image: Scottish Parliament)

Mountain said that would not solve the problem or help cut costs as it is a “global market” and then set out ways the UK Government was doing to tackle the issue.

He said: “I was interested in the article that Emma Roddick quoted and I think the final paragraph if I have it here, goes on to say, I underlined it, our leaders are of course right to target economic growth.

“That's what we should be doing, growing the economy, and we know that for growing the economy, we can make everyone better and have a better standard of living and in my mind, you won't be surprised, that is not something that comes about with independence.”

READ MORE: 'Obscene' decision by council to spend up to £50k on coronation holiday

He later claimed that Scottish independence would cost “billions and billions” and that the contents of the whitepapers are "fantasy economics". 

Scottish Labour MSP Carol Mochan said that “leaving the UK is not the answer” and said electing a Labour government at Westminster is “a better solidarity in terms of how we run the community in the UK”.

Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens MSPs, told the chamber that the situation is worse than the analysis alluded to. “In 2021, the lowest earning bracket of British households was 20% weaker than the equivalent household in Slovenia,” she said.

The National: Mochan claimed a Labour government in Westminster would solve the issue of wealth inequalityMochan claimed a Labour government in Westminster would solve the issue of wealth inequality (Image: Scottish Parliament)

Chapman noted that the income from the North Sea “should have benefitted all of us” and said that “we must share the fruits of the renewable revolution, it must make us all richer, not just those rich enough to own energy companies".

Closing the debate, public finance minister Tom Arthur said that in the current economic climate it’s “important to lift our heads up and consider the larger picture”.

“Ultimately so many of the social ills that we must confront are ultimately driven by and reflections of our underlying economic system,” he added.

Roddick's motion was supported by 25 MSPs including Karen Adam, Natalie Don, Mark Ruskell, and Maggie Chapman.