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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

UK Least Wealthy Country in North West Europe in 21st Century

New analysis by the House of Commons Library reveals that the UK has been the least wealthy country per person in north west Europe during every year of the 21st century.

The UK is behind all thirteen neighbouring countries - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The analysis, using data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), shows the UK is £5,062 per person less wealthy than the average of all countries in north west Europe, and £15,739 poorer than those independent countries with a population similar or smaller than Scotland.

The data also shows that the wealth gap between the UK and our European neighbours has grown over the past two decades. The percentage deficit with the average of those countries has doubled from -7.6% in 2000 to -16.3% in 2021, and for those countries with a population similar or smaller than Scotland it has gone from -26.6% in 2000 to -50.7% in 2021.

Kenneth Gibson MSP said:

"The UK has the lowest wealth per head of any north west European country in the 21st century, and a wealth gap with our European neighbours that has grown worse over the past two decades.

"The evidence shows that independent countries of Scotland's size or smaller do better with the UK a shocking £15,739 per person poorer than those independent European countries similar in size or smaller than Scotland.

"This has happened under successive Labour, Coalition and Tory UK Governments and the long-term damage of austerity and a hard Brexit has already cost Scotland billions of pounds, and it will continue to harm our economy,leaving people poorer and worse off.

"Scotland has a wealth of resources but we need the full powers of independence to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery and fully realise our economic potential.

“Independence cannot come soon enough!”

Image: GDP per capita in 2021, at purchasing power parity exchange rates, converted to sterling using constant 2017 prices IMF figures calculated by House of Commons Library



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