EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The Scottish economy is outperforming the United Kingdom in terms of output and productivity, the Scottish finance secretary said Monday.
The Scottish government said it could support itself financially in large part through oil and natural gas developments in the North Sea. The government plans to hold a referendum for independence from the United Kingdom next year and estimates there are nearly 24 billion barrels of recoverable oil and natural gas remaining in the North Sea.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said Monday his economy was doing better than ever. He said the Scottish economy grew by 1.2 percent during the first quarter of the year compared with 0.3 percent in the United Kingdom.
"Though headwinds still remain, the general outlook for Scotland is of an improving picture through 2013 with the recovery strengthening in 2014," he said.
The British government said Scotland could go it alone but wouldn't get some of the subsidies that contribute to its economic growth.
"With the full economic levers of independence we could do more to put Scotland more securely on the road to recovery," Swinney said.