Anorak News | If Scotland Leaves The UK Both Countries Will Become More Equal

If Scotland Leaves The UK Both Countries Will Become More Equal

by | 3rd, September 2014



HERE’S a slightly odd little factoid about the upcoming Scottish independence vote. If Scotland does leave then both countries will become more equal. And given that we’re told that inequality is the defining scourge of our times, that’ll be nice, won’t it?

Not that anything will actually change in either country you understand: only that inequality the way we measure it will fall. No poor people will gain higher incomes as a result of this, no rich people will have their incomes reduced: but inequality will still fall. All of which rather tells us that the way we measure inequality isn’t, perhaps, as important as some might think.

There is, of course, inequality in incomes in the UK. There’s inequality in incomes in each and every little city and town. However, over and above that there’s great inequality in incomes in different places in the UK. London is actually the richest area in the European Union. And there’s places like Cornwall and, yes, parts of Scotland, that are among the poorest areas in the UK. And this regional inequality in the UK is larger than similar regional inequalities in many other EU countries. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve got that higher than EU norm inequality.

So, in a system like this what happens when a poor region leaves? Well, what happens when a poor region like Scotland leaves is that inequality, the way we measure it, will fall in both Scotland and the rest of the UK. For no longer will UK equality be compared to the poverty of Scotland and no more will the poverty of Scotland be compared to the wealth of London.

And if inequality really is the great scourge of our times then we all ought to be cheering on Scottish independence, shouldn’t we? Oddly, those who shout loudest about inequality are the very people who are most silent on this point. You know, the Labour MPs sitting for Scottish seats who will be out of a job if it does happen.

Funny that, innit?

Posted: 3rd, September 2014 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink