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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2007, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
Think tank endorses independence
John Swinney
SNP finance spokesman John Swinney welcomed the report
The economy of an independent Scotland could significantly outstrip the performance of the UK, a free market economic think-tank has claimed.

The Adam Smith Institute predicted that Scotland's economy could grow by up to 7%, imitating Ireland's recent success.

The report also said after 10 years of independence, household incomes in Scotland could out perform the UK average by as much as 6,000.

By contrast the briefing stated that UK growth rates would be less impressive.

Author Gabriel Stein, director and chief international economist of Lombard Street Research, said: "If an independent Scotland chose to follow the Republic of Ireland's low-tax route, as SNP leader Alex Salmond has indicated it would, Scotland's growth rate might be expected, over a five-year period, to move closer to Ireland's trend growth rate of 7%.

"Given a further five years of Scottish growth at that trend level, and before diminishing returns set in, Scotland's growth over the 10-year period would put its index 71.5 higher, more than a two-thirds increase in GDP."

The result would be dramatic for Scotland
Gabriel Stein
Lombard Street Research

In contrast, Mr Stein said the rest of the UK would only be expected to have grown by just over a quarter.

He added: "The result would be dramatic for Scotland. Measured in household income per head, Scotland, which started 1,700 behind the rest of the UK, could be expected to be 6,000 ahead of it at the end of that period."

The SNP's finance spokesman, John Swinney, welcomed the report.

He said: "Scotland has so much potential, yet we have one of the lowest long-term growth rates in Europe.

"An aspirational Scotland should seek to match the success of our near neighbours and similar sized nations who have dramatically out performed Scotland and the UK."

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