Scotland ‘is a better bet than the UK’

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First Minister Alex Salmond has described Scotland as a “better bet” than the United Kingdom, as he met for talks with his new council of economic advisers for the first time.

Mr Salmond said the council would help plan for a boost in overseas trade and focus on expanding export markets.

He said companies had confidence in the economic direction of Scotland, which he argues will be stronger if the country becomes independent following a referendum in autumn 2014.

“Scotland is a better bet in every respect than the United Kingdom,” he said. “We have a lower debt ratio to GDP, we’ve got a stronger fiscal balance. In every key requirement, Scotland would be in a better position than the United Kingdom is at the present moment.”

The council includes Nobel prize-winner Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist.