If there can be any greater evidence of the need for Scotland to have full control of its own economic affairs it is the recent Ernst & Young Item Club report indicating that Scotland’s overall output decline of 4 per cent over the past four years put it on par with the troubled Spanish economy (your report, 3 December).
However, comparisons between Scotland and Spain in this report are a bit misleading, and there are big differences between these two nations.
Scotland’s banking sector is not in the parlous state that Spain’s is. And unemployment in Spain is more than 25 per cent with youth unemployment over 50 per cent, while in Scotland unemployment over the latest period was 8.1 per cent with a youth unemployment rate of 23.5 per cent.
But with three years of contraction out of the past five, the downturn still leaves Scotland with a lot of catching up with the output per head it achieved before 2008, and now looking to 2016 before it does so.
In the short term it is time for the Chancellor to give an immediate targeted boost to capital investment as part of this week’s autumn budget statement, helping protect the recovery and providing the infrastructure necessary to support economic growth. In the longer term it is only with control of the economic levers of powers that as a nation we will be able to realise our full growth potential.