26 June 2014, 10:33

Independent Scotland may become Nordic financial powerhouse - policy group

Independent Scotland may become Nordic financial powerhouse - policy group

One of the most often used arguments of politicians who oppose Scotland's independence is that without Great Britain and without the "innovations" coming from the city of London, Scotland will become a poor and underdeveloped country. A report commissioned by the N56 think-tank proves the skeptics wrong and argues that an independent Scotland may become a financial powerhouse.

The panel of experts commissioned to work on the "Scotland Means Business" report includes Capital Economics in London, Landfall Strategy Group in Singapore, Biggar Economics in Scotland, Damvad business and management consultancy in Scandinavia and Tulloch Energy consultants in Scotland. Experts' conclusion is that an independent Scotland can actually overtake Britain in terms of wealth and become one of the richest countries on the planet.

Dan McDonald, one of the experts who oversaw the project, wrote in the forward to the report: "I am confident that with the adoption of the right plan and policies, those objectives are entirely achievable and Scotland can through a re-established global brand be among the league of the five wealthiest and healthiest nations in the world."

While such claims may be seen as exaggerated, there are compelling arguments supporting this radical vision of an independent Scotland. Authors of the report calculated that an independent Scotland would have had a budgetary surplus for the last 34 years in stark contrast with the huge budgetary deficits and debts accumulated by the United Kingdom. In this context, an independent Scotland should have, on a forward looking basis, a credit rating at least equal with the credit rating of Great Britain.

Not all small countries have successful economies, but some of the wealthiest countries in per capita terms are quite small. N56 stresses that Scotland should try to replicate the successes of New Zealand, Denmark and Singapore.

The think-tank's experts also believe that flexible policies and a preferential tax regime will transform Scotland into a Nordic hub for the global asset management industry, making it "the Frankfurt of the North". In a time of growing disappointment with London's policies and attitudes, the dream about becoming a prosperous Nordic financial center may become a significant boost to the pro-independence campaign.

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