Sunday, March 19, 2006

Scotland and Norway

Alex Neil of the Scottish National Party has produced a paper on the political and economic progress of Norway since it gained its independence from Sweden.

This study includes a comparison with Scotland.

(Scotland has some of the worst poverty in Europe.)

On the ranking of all 30 OECD nations:

Norway comes top on prosperity ( The GDP per capita was $36,600 in 2002, and this was the highest of any nation in the world barring Luxembourg $61,190. This is compared to the United Kingdom which was $26,150: the Scottish figure lags at around 95% of the UK)

top on productivity

and fourth on its employment rate.

If Scotland was independent, like Norway, it would be richer and more productive.

Neil wrote: “Norway serves as a fine inspiration as to what is possible for the citizens of Scotland.”

(Alex Neil and Jim Mather published a paper in 2004 claiming Scotland’s actual unemployment is some three and a half times the recorded level.)

Neil says “Scotland has wasted thirty years”– time to follow Norway’s independence example

There are several key differences between Norway and Scotland today:

- Norway has used its own natural resources to establish the Petroleum Fund: an investment fund designed to spread the benefits of its natural resource wealth over generations to come. The Petroleum Fund is currently valued at over £85 billion. Meanwhile Scotland continues to be unable to access the benefits of being an oil producing country.

- The country has no external debt and whilst Scotland would be in the black if independent, being part of the UK forces us into fiscal deficit.

- Norway benefits from a highly-skilled and educated population, where only 8.5% of Norwegian adults lack functional literacy skills, as opposed to 23% of Scottish adults.

- Independence allows Norway to maintain regulation of its fisheries and agriculture sector, whilst Scotland continues to be sold down the river by successive British governments who have failed to represent Scottish interests in these industries to the European Union.

- Norway contributes more money per capita to provide for public health care. Consequently, Norway’s figures for infant mortality, obesity, and live expectancy are comparatively better than those in Scotland.

- Norway exceeds the international commitment to give 0.7% of GDP to foreign aid, whilst the Scottish Parliament has no influence in this area, and the UK only manages to contribute 0.3% of GDP.

- Norway’s population continues to grow steadily; with it estimated that by 2030 their population will exceed 5million. By the same time it is reckoned that Scotland will have a population of only around 4.5million – a demographic time bomb that will leave Scotland with many problems.

100 Years of Norwegian Independence

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