Economics of Independence

Business for Scotland’s 10 most popular articles of 2013

Written by Michael Gray


In the last month Business for Scotland had over 100,000 unique readers. This is a remarkable performance for a website and organisation that only launched in March 2013.

Below are the articles shared the most by our readers in 2013. Our most popular article was shared over 23,000 times, which to our knowledge is the most popular article online about Scottish independence.

In total these pieces provide the facts, figures and arguments that demonstrate that independence will make Scotland better off economically.

10) Supermarket prices may fall in an independent Scotland! 

The morning of another No Campaign scare story, Business for Scotland published a quick and straight forward rebuttal on supermarket prices. Later in the day supermarket chain Morrisons backed this up. With the right business and retail policy, independence can benefit Scotland’s shoppers.

9) Why the No Campaign REALLY don’t want a Scottish oil fund

This year the Fiscal Commission Working Group proposed that an independent Scotland should invest oil revenue to support future generations. While No Campaigners wailed, Business for Scotland published the economic evidence which demonstrates the benefits of such a fund. It is a perfect example of Westminster’s economic incompetency set against the opportunities of independence.

8) The hidden cost of the union – HS2 

Westminster economic policy continues to favour London and the South East to the detriment of everyone else. The high speed rail project is a key example. Scotland is set to contribute £4.7 billion for a train line between London and Manchester. An independent Scotland would improve transport links in Scotland.

7) Help! I’m a Secretary of State for Scotland get me out of here!

Following the publication of the White Paper on independence, Nicola Sturgeon debated Alistair Carmichael live on STV. The result exposed the growing disparity between the Yes and No Campaigns. While the 670 page report brought clarity and ambition to the debate, Carmichael failed to answer questions on the UK’s EU membership, the future of the Barnett Formula and the future of devolution.

6) 12 defence facts that the No Campaign don’t want you to know

The economics of defence make good reading for the Yes Campaign. The facts show that Scotland has been shortchanged by the Ministry of Defence. Independence would create a better defence force, save at least £500 million a year and get rid of trident nuclear weapons.

5) Scotland on the verge of a new North Sea oil boom 

Evidence of Scotland’s economic strength was our 5th most popular article of 2013. A report by Sir Ian Wood concluded that North Sea oil could generate £200 billion more over a generation. Business for Scotland analysed oil prices, reserves and investment to demonstrated that Scotland will benefit from this increased prosperity with independence.

4) 10 facts about Scotland’s oil and independence

Our 4th most popular article condensed this North Sea analysis into 10 short points. This demonstrates conclusively that North Sea oil will help make Scotland a wealthy nation long into the 21st century.

3) Independence will generate a £109 billion asset windfall for Scotland

After independence Scotland will inherit a share of UK assets and liabilities. Scotland’s share of UK assets will be around £109 billion including defence equipment, international embassies, and domestic assets. The article also explains the negotiations which will follow independence and why Scotland will be in a strong position.

2) Revealed: The accounting trick that hides Scotland’s wealth

Business for Scotland’s 2nd most popular article of 2013 relates to our independent research into the official figures of Scotland’s Balance Sheet. The last 30 years figures reveals that Scotland paid at least £64 billion of debt interest that Scotland didn’t need. As an independent country, Scotland would be running a massive surplus over this period. When this was covered in the Sunday Times, the No Campaign accused Business for Scotland of using “facts”.

1) Where does Scotland’s wealth go?

Business for Scotland’s most popular article of 2013 – as well as the most popular article of the entire independence campaign so far – has been shared more than 22,000 times on social media.

Using Office of National Statistics figures, Business for Scotland demonstrated the stark North/South divide in the UK in terms of personal wealth. This is then contrasted with a map showing the location of wealth creation in the UK.

While Scotland creates a great deal of the UK’s wealth, it remains one of the poorest areas of the UK. Wealth is moved away from Scotland.

This has a catastrophic impact of levels of fuel poverty, child poverty and life expectancy. Westminster’s economic and political model is not working for Scotland.

Only a transfer of power from London and the South East of England to Scotland and the regions of England can change these trends. A Yes vote will ensure decisions about the future of Scotland, including those impacting wealth creation and retention, are taken by those people who care most about Scotland – the people who live and work here.

About the author

Michael Gray

Michael is Head of Research with Business for Scotland.

A graduate from the University of Glasgow, he has carried out a series of interviews with academics, politicians and the public in Denmark, Iceland and Ireland. Michael's on twitter @GrayInGlasgow.


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