The UK is bottom of the league for productivity

Recent data has showed that the UK has the lowest pensions and the highest inequality in North West Europe – laying bare how Westminster rule holds back Scotland’s potential.

Now, latest analysis from the House of Commons Library reveals that the UK is suffering a productivity crisis – with the worst productivity levels of any neighbouring country in Europe for over a decade.

Here’s what you need to know.

The UK languishes behind its neighbours on productivity

The data paints a stark picture with the UK at the bottom of the league – behind all 13 neighbouring countries, including Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Belgium.

Measured as GDP per hour worked in 2019 (the latest year for which data is available), the UK’s productivity level was ยฃ43.97 – 41% lower than Ireland, which topped the table at ยฃ74.88.

On average, the UK’s productivity was 14% lower than the average of all 13 neighbouring countries.

Tory-imposed austerity has held Scotland back…

The UK has had the weakest productivity levels since 2009, and a brutal decade of Tory austerity – with a long-term pay squeeze for workers – was a major factor, according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Austerity has not only impacted productivity, but also contributed to the rise in inequality, which is the highest in the UK out of all neighbouring countries.

The UK’s relative poverty rate has also soared among working households, with a record rate at 17.4% this year, according to the think tank IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research).

…but the UK’s productivity problem dates back to a long history of Westminster mismanagement

A decade of cuts and under-investment under UK Tory governments, which Scotland has rejected at every election since 1955, has contributed to higher inequality, lower pensions and lower productivity.

But low productivity goes back further than recent Tory rule. In fact, it’s been a long-term problem of Westminster control.

Under the last Labour government, the UK was second-worst only to Iceland, who have now steamed ahead thanks to investment in its economy – while the UK is now at rock bottom under the Tories.

Independent countries with populations similar to Scotland do better on average

For neighbouring countries with a similar or smaller population size than Scotland, the productivity rate was on average 28% higher – at around ยฃ61.10, compared to the UK’s ยฃ43.97.

The evidence is clear. Independent countries such as Ireland, Denmark or Belgium have far more productive economies than the UK, while Scotland remains tied to failing Westminster governments.

As an independent country, Scotland can take a different path and boost our economy

If other independent countries across Europe can build thriving economies, with higher productivity, better welfare and lower inequality, so can Scotland.

Scotland needs the full powers of independence so we can turbocharge our economy, boost wages, and depart from Tory austerity.

As we begin to rebuild from Covid, having these powers at our disposal is essential so we can build a stronger recovery, and achieve the higher levels of success that our European neighbours have done.

Scotland has what it takes to thrive with independence

With our abundant resources, a highly-educated population and the perfect size, an independent Scotland can be a more prosperous, more productive and fairer country.

Scotland is already a leader in many areas. We manufacture more small satellites for the space industry than anywhere in Europe, and have one of the biggest life sciences clusters.

Scotland has 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal and wind energy potential, Scotland can become the true hub for the renewable energy revolution – if we have all the necessary powers at our disposal, just like our neighbouring countries do.

Read the facts here.