The State of the Union: 7 years on from the indyref

From Brexit, to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Westminster power grab, the Union of 2014 no longer exists.

In 2014, Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems – united under one front as the Better Together campaign – insisted that Scotland could only protect our place in Europe by voting No.

Beside the whole raft of broken promises, the UK is now a more unequal, more undemocratic and more isolated country. With independence, Scotland can unlock its potential.

Here’s the current state of play.

The UK has the highest deficit out of its neighbours

Of all countries in north west Europe, the UK has the highest cumulative deficit, at -5.15%, compared to the north-west European average of -2.35%.

Meanwhile, smaller European countries make better decisions in reducing their deficits and thanks to being independent, have all the levers of control to do so.

While the UK government often talks about “Scotland’s deficit” as an argument why Scotland is seemingly “too poor” to be independent, the reality is that the deficit is a product of Westminster rule and Westminster decisions – such as spending £200bn on Trident nuclear weapons.

The UK’s neighbouring countries are significantly richer per head

The UK has been found to be the “poor man of north west Europe”.

Recent analysis revealed the UK has been the least wealthy country per person than all of our European neighbours for every year of the 21st century.

The findings, using data from the IMF (International Monetary Fund), shows that per person the UK is £5,062 poorer than the average of all countries in north west Europe.

What’s striking is how countries with a population similar or smaller than Scotland, such as Ireland and Denmark, are significantly wealthier on average – around £15,739 wealthier per person than the UK.

The UK is the most unproductive country out of its neighbours

The UK is suffering from a long-term productivity crisis, with the worst levels of any country in North West Europe for more than a decade.

According to data from the OECD, the UK’s economy is 41% less productive than Ireland’s – which tops the north-west European league – and on average 28% less productive than independent countries of similar size to Scotland.

In 2019, the UK government’s own statistics body – the ONS – said the UK’s failure to maintain productivity growth was one of the main reasons for a squeeze in wages, costing workers around £5,000 in missing income.

UK pensions are least generous in north west Europe, and falling further behind

New research shows UK pensions are one of the worst in the developed world, and the least generous of every country in north west Europe.

UK pensioners receive around 28% of the average working wage when they retire.

In contrast, pensioners in Luxembourg and Austria receive 90%, 80% in the Netherlands and 71% in Denmark.

Under Tory rule at Westminster, pensioner poverty levels have risen to a 15 year high – with over 2 million UK pensioners now living in poverty, an increase of 200,000 on 2018/2019.

The UK suffers the worst levels of poverty of any neighbouring country

New analysis shows the UK suffers from the worst levels of poverty of any neighbouring country, and has done for almost all of the 21st century.

According to the House of Commons Library, 11.7% of people in the UK live in relative poverty – compared to 6.1% in Denmark, 6.5% in Finland or 8.2% in Belgium.

This is yet more evidence that smaller, independent countries in Europe are able to build fairer, more equal and wealthier societies than the UK.

Meanwhile, Tory Universal Credit cuts and their extreme Brexit will inevitably make the poverty crisis even worse, pushing more families into deprivation.

The UK is the most unequal country in the world

For every year where figures are available, the UK has suffered the worst inequality of any country in north west Europe.

Recent research confirms the 2016 Oxfam report, which concluded that “the UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world”.

Six countries with populations similar or smaller to Scotland – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Norway – all have significantly more equal and fairer societies than that of the UK.

Brexit is making it all worse – the UK is the only country with declining exports

New analysis, using IMF data, shows that every neighbouring European country has increased its exports since 2016 – except for the UK, the only country to have been hit by a downturn.

Independent countries similar to Scotland’s size have increased their exports by an average of 16.7% – while the UK’s declined by -5.5%.

Far from boosting trade, as we were promised by Boris Johnson, the hard Brexit – which Scotland never voted for, but got dragged out of the EU by the Tories – is causing long-term economic damage for which we all have to pay the price.

Scotland can’t afford more of UK rule – let’s build a fairer, wealthier, stronger country with independence

Numerous statistics show that independent European countries – such as Denmark, Ireland or Belgium, all similar to Scotland – do much better on every measure than the UK.

They have fairer, more equal societies, as well as more resilient economies – higher productivity, higher exports and lower deficits.

If they can thrive with independence, so can Scotland.

We have abundant natural resources – with less than 1% of Europe’s population, we have 25% of Europe’s total wind and tidal power potential.

We have some of the world’s best universities, a highly educated population and an innovative economy – from life sciences, to satellites and renewables.

It’s clear that Scotland has what it takes to be independent. Read more facts here – and share this article with 5 friends or family.