Scottish independence: ‘richest country’ claim disputed

ALEX Salmond’s claim that Scotland is one of the world’s richest countries has been disputed by a report which claims that the Scottish Government has over-estimated the nation’s wealth.

Glasgow University. Picture: TSPL
Glasgow University. Picture: TSPL

The report by Glasgow University economists John McLaren and Jo Armstrong suggests that the government’s estimates are over-optimistic by almost £3,000 per head.

The study uses gross national income (GNI) to measure wealth that puts Scotland 20th out of the 34 countries that make up the OECD group of developed nations.

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Mr Salmond has consistently argued that Scotland’s gross domestic product (GDP) puts the country 14th in the OECD.

Using the GDP measurement, Scottish Government data gives every Scottish citizen $39,600 (£23,625) per head – a higher number than for the UK which has $34,800 (£20,762) per head.

GNI differs from GDP because it assess the money kept inside a country. When GNI is used, Scotland’s wealth per head fell by $2,000 (£1,193) to $37,400 (£22,313). The economists then used a wealth measure which discounted profits and share dividends earned by foreign countries. When that was used wealth per head fell by $5,000 (the equivalent of £2,983) to $34,600 (£20,642).