Scotland 'can afford' independence, says First Minister

Scotland can 'more than afford to be a successful independent country', Soctland's First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

The statement comes as the Scottish Government publishes its key economic strengths ahead of next year's referendum on independence.

The document offers a consolidated picture of the country's strong financial foundations, diverse economy, ingenuity and natural resources.

"All of which will help ensure a prosperous nation with independence," it said.

The report highlights:

  • Its financial position - with Scotland generating more tax per head than the UK for every year over the last 30 years
  • Renewable energy - with an estimated 25 per cent of Europe's tidal and offshore wind resources
  • The manufacturing sector - which exported £14.7 billion in 2011
  • The food and drink industry - showing rising exports and an annual turnover of £12.4 billion.

Launching the paper, Alex Salmond said: "This document sets out the enormous attributes and key strengths of the Scottish economy across a diverse range of sectors. We have a vast array of human, financial and natural resources, which many other countries do not enjoy."

He added: "Despite our strong economic foundations and excellent global reputation Scotland, with Westminster in control of our economy, is not reaching our potential as a nation and this report clearly lays out the ways in which UK Government economic policies have not worked in Scotland's best interests."

"We need the powers to boost our competitive position, support greater innovation and investment, become more internationally-focused instead of threatening to leave the EU and to become a wealthier, fairer country."