Scotland ‘one of world’s wealthiest countries’

Scottish independence: Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, official figures today showed.

Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, according to official figures. Picture: Jane Barlow

It ranks 14th in world league tables, four places higher than the UK as a whole, prompting the SNP Government to declare Scotland “can more than afford to be an independent country.”

But Scotland has tumbled down six places from the 8th spot it occupied last year under a previous methodology, according to the OECD measure of GDP per head of population. Both Scotland and the UK maintain their rankings compared to updated international comparisons for 2011.

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The rankings are dominated by small independent countries with 7 of the top ten nations in the OECD in 2012 having populations of less than 10 million people.

Finance Secretary John Swinney will confirm the figures in a speech to Edinburgh University tonight on the economic opportunities of independence.

“There is no doubt that Scotland can more than afford to be a successful independent nation,” he will say.

“With our vast natural resources, skilled work force and broad-based industrial strengths, Scotland performs strongly against international competitors.

“This analysis shows that an independent Scotland would be the 14th wealthiest nation per head within the OECD compared to that of the UK which is ranked 18th and with the powers of independence we would be able to harness that wealth for the benefit of people in Scotland.”

The updated research shows that including North Sea output, Scotland’s GDP per capita in 2012 was 11 per cent above that of the UK in the measure of 34 OECD countries.