22/05/2013 06:24 BST | Updated 21/07/2013 06:12 BST

Scotland Has Every Right to Be Confident About Our Economic Prospects

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Scotland is historically a world leader in innovation and enterprise - a nation rich in talent that has, for centuries, been at the heart of global economic innovation.

The ingenuity of Scots has helped to shape our modern world. The longstanding entrepreneurial spirit of the Scottish people has produced some of the greatest innovators and thinkers the earth has known. Their ideas have ensured people across the world can watch TV, make telephone calls and use PIN numbers; and commitments to the development of education and science have benefited humanity through the discovery of penicillin, the development of insulin and other medical advances.

More recently, Scotland has established a proud reputation as a leader in green technology, renewable energy, life sciences, quality food and drink and oil and gas. And it's vital that Scotland continues to capitalise on our expertise and skills - our competitive advantage - to secure a more prosperous future for the people who live here.

Scotland not only has massive economic strengths - we are financially strong too. Official figures show Scotland to be in a fiscally stronger position than the rest of the UK. For example, we have generated more tax receipts per person than the UK in each and every one of the last 30 years.

This impressive track record in innovation, our wealth of natural resources and skilled workforce means that Scotland has every right to be confident about our economic prospects as an independent country.

The Fiscal Commission Working Group which draws together some of the world's foremost economists and includes the two Nobel Prize winners, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and Professor Sir Jim Mirrlees, summed it up like this:

"By international standards Scotland is a wealthy and productive country. There is no doubt that Scotland has the potential to be a successful independent nation."

We have so much going for us as a country and as an economy and that's why even the leading opponents of Scottish independence say that, of course, Scotland could be a successful independent country.

However, in spite of all these advantages, the fact is that we are not as prosperous a country as we should be. Other countries of a similar size perform more strongly than Scotland, our long term growth rate lags behind the UK as a whole and the gap between rich and poor is getting wider.

Scotland currently lacks the full range of economic powers to help create jobs, grow the economy and realise all of our potential. Instead Scotland's economic policy is largely determined by Westminster - often by governments that people in Scotland didn't even vote for it.

The UK Government's concentration on London and the South-East of England, which the Prime Minister himself has called 'unstable and wasteful', has also worked against Scotland's best interests

The one-size-fits all economic policy for the UK, with all the key decisions taken in Westminster, is not working.

Westminster's economic policies have seen the UK become the fourth most unequal country in the developed world. It is wholly unacceptable that the gap between rich and poor has widened - an independent Scotland would provide the key policy levers necessary to tackle income inequalities, which would benefit the well-being of individuals and the nation.

This report highlights how independence is an essential step if we are to build a better, more prosperous and fairer country.

In an increasingly competitive world, it is necessary to have a full set of decision-making powers to allow us to build on our comparative advantages and tackle our legacy of inequalities.

Decisions about Scotland should be taken by the people who care most about Scotland - those who live here.

Scotland has got what it takes to be a successful independent country. But we need the tools to build that better, more prosperous and fairer country we all want to see.