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Call to end dependency culture

SCOTLAND has a "dependency culture" which discourages innovation, a university principal has warned.

BLOG: Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski posted critical blog.
BLOG: Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski posted critical blog.

Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, principal of Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen, contrasted the Scottish economy with that of Ireland, which he said was an "attractive climate" for investment.

In a blog for an independence referendum website hosted by Edinburgh University's academy of government, Mr Von Prondzynski said: "The suggestion Scotland would not easily be able to flourish outside the United Kingdom is not borne out by the Irish experience.

"Scotland right now has a much lower level of local innovation, and far less entrepreneurship, than Ireland has. It has, in many ways, developed a national dependency culture, in which a perhaps generous contribution from London is seen as safer than an indigenous ­innovation culture."

Mr Von Prondzynski said Ireland's ability to manage its own fiscal policy had created an attractive climate for investment, as well as buoyant revenues.

"It could be argued the most hopeful future scenario is one of autonomous decision-making with some shared sovereignty in which local initiative and enterprise can be unlocked," he added.

However, Neil Bibby, Scottish Labour's deputy education spokesman, criticised his comments.

He said: "Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski has some interesting views, but most Scots won't recognise this description of our dependency culture. We don't need to change the constitution to build an innovative, entrepreneurial economy - we do that by investing in skills and education."

A spokesman for the pro-Union Better Together campaign, added: "Scotland's universities are thriving as part of the United Kingdom. The money we get in terms of funding our world leading research is not a sign of us having a dependency culture. It is a sign that we are part of a system that works."

However, a spokesman for Yes Scotland, which is campaigning for independence, said: "Professor Von Prondzynski's comments make a compelling case for independence. The whole point of a Yes vote is it will equip Scotland with the tools we need to fully realise our potential, to use our vast wealth in better and fairer ways and to allow our flair for innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise to flourish. A Yes vote is good news not only for Scotland, but also for other parts of the UK, because it will help to redress economic imbalance caused by the dominance of the City of London and the south-east of England."

In March last year, Professor Louise Richardson, principal of St Andrews University, said independence would hit university funding. She said: "If we were cut off from national research councils, it would be catastrophic for this university. We would lose top academics. We would fail to attract serious academics."

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