Borders are sixth for prosperity says Oxfam

A NEW way of measuring prosperity in Scotland ranks the Borders above the national average, says Oxfam.

The Oxfam Humankind Index for Scotland is a new measure of Scotland’s prosperity, based on people’s real priorities beyond standard measures like economic growth.

Oxfam Scotland says the Humankind Index is more useful than traditional economic benchmarks like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because it focuses on people’s real needs.

The Oxfam Humankind Index for Scotland was 5,492. In the Scottish Borders the figure was 6,000 – putting it 6th in the list of Scotland’s 32 local council areas, significantly above the nationwide figure.

During research for the Oxfam Humankind Index, the charity spoke to nearly 3,000 people all over Scotland to find out the things that are most important to them. The New Economics Foundation worked with Oxfam to weigh these priorities according to how important they were to people.

The Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde University then used publicly-available research to judge how those priorities are being met across Scotland.

Judith Robertson, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Across Scotland, people have made their priorities clear – they want the economy to be their servant instead of their master.

“Politicians in Scotland – both national and local – talk a lot about GDP and growing the economy, but they don’t often talk about ways to ensure everyone in Scotland can get a fair share of that growth.

Housing and health were Scots’ top priorities for the Index, followed by a clean, safe neighbourhood. Finance was lower down the list.

Dr Katherine Trebeck, research and policy adviser at Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Index is a challenge to new councillors in the Borders. It gives a picture of the kind of community people want.”