Scotland will vote in 2014 whether to split off from England and the rest of the United Kingdom. Scottish nationalists argue that Scotland would be better off alone.
Ending Britain's 306-year rule would allow Scotland to reverse generations of economic mismanagement and free its lawmakers to boost economic growth, say Scottish nationalists campaigning to split from the UK.
Independence would not only bring the long-standing and sometimes-troubled union to an end, but allow tax cuts and investment focused on boosting exports to spur growth on the Scottish side of the border.
In an attempt to sour support for independence ahead of a Scottish referendum in September 2014, Britain's rulers have issued a flurry of warnings in recent months about the dangers of Scotland scrapping its union with England.
Scotland, according to the British government, would have trouble keeping the pound; its economy would be dangerously exposed to the vicissitudes of the oil market and its banking sector would be vulnerable to a Cyprus-style debt crisis.
But the Scottish government hit back at those gloomy views with a report entitled "Scotland's Economy: The Case for Independence" which said years of shoddy London policies had cost Scotland 19,000 new jobs and hampered growth for decades.
"The UK government's economic policies have been holding Scotland back for generations," said Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. "Only with the powers of independence can Scotland meet its full potential."
Scotland's $190 billion economy -- roughly the size of New Zealand's -- makes up about 8 percent of the United Kingdom's $2.4 trillion economy, according to most international measures and Scotland's own economic forecasts.
Opinion polls show about a third of Scottish voters want independence, while nearly 60 percent want to stay part of Britain.
Scotland said that if granted independence it wanted to keep using the British pound under a currency union arrangement and strengthen ties with the European Union, steps which it said could increase exports by 50 percent over four years.