Scottish election 2021: Independent Scotland in the EU could replicate Ireland's success, says Kate Forbes

Rejoining the European Union after Scotland becomes independent could see the country become as successful economically as Ireland, the SNP’s finance minister has said.

Writing exclusively in The Scotsman, Kate Forbes said the report by Sir Tom Hunter that called for “radical” economic change in Scotland “illustrates the great opportunities for Scotland’s economy”.

The report published by Oxford Economics accused Westminster and Holyrood of not being bold enough on economy policy, and warned it was not “realistic” to expect either to transform things given the current approach

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Kate Forbes has said an independent Scotland could see the same successes as Ireland after rejoining the EU.

The report pointed to Scotland’s economy lagging so far behind some other countries that it would need a business comparable in size with Google’s total global output to bring its GDP per head of population up the level of Norway’s.

Ms Forbes argues the report from Sir Tom shows that Scotland “faces major challenges”, but also points out “structural inequalities of the union and its economy”.

She writes: “Sir Tom may not have intended this, but his report did two things. First, it starkly pointed out the structural inequalities of the union and its economy. And second, it made what I believe is a robust and compelling case for independence.

“Yes, it pointed out that Scotland faces major challenges, but it fares well in a UK context when you don’t include London – too often the primary economic focus of successive Westminster governments.”

Drawing comparisons with other smaller European nations such as Norway and Denmark, the MSP candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said independence and rejoining the EU would give Scotland the opportunity to develop its economy to create a “more prosperous and fairer country”.

Likening Scotland to Ireland before joining the European Union but post-independence, Ms Forbes says rejoining the EU would give Scotland a “seat at the top table in our own right” and access to the European single market.

She writes: That vast economic opportunity is one of the reasons why so many European countries of our size find the EU so beneficial.

“Before EU membership, Ireland did not have well developed trade with other European countries and was a lot poorer. Now its trade with the EU and the rest of the world is much higher and the country is substantially wealthier.

“If Ireland can do it, so can Scotland.”

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