GERS: A review by Amber Dunbar
Scotland is better off as part of the Union. According to the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures every man, woman and child across Scotland is better off as part of the UK to the tune of nearly two thousand pounds.
A huge disparity between Scotland’s expenditure and what we raise in tax highlights how crucial it is that Scotland remains a part of our Union.
The difference between public spending and revenue collected in Scotland and the UK show that the Union Dividend is worth £1968 to Scots up and down the country.
Public spending in Scotland is a record £1,661 higher than the UK average at £13,854 per person, with an increase of almost £100 per person compared to 2017-18’s figures. Total public expenditure in Scotland for 2018-19 is at £75.3 billion – our highest ever. Spending in Scotland as a share of the UK was 9.3%, despite Scotland contributing only 8% of UK tax revenue. Membership of the Union is vital as it allows Scotland to increase its public expenditure at this rate.
Under the SNP, Scotland’s deficit is six times higher than that of the UK with a total net fiscal deficit of £12.6 billion (7% of GDP) in comparison to the UK as a whole only being 1.1%. If Scotland were to become independent, it would have the largest deficit in the EU and would break member state rules. Thanks to Derek Mackay’s mismanagement of our economy, Scotland accounts for half of the UK’s entire deficit, despite having roughly 10 per cent of the population.
Derek Mackay MSP is a close ally of Nicola Sturgeon and has overseen finances that would break EU member state rules.
This in striking comparison to the deficit of Cyprus which, as the highest in the EU, stands at 4.8%. EU rules require that members have a budget deficit below 3%, so it is unlikely an independent Scotland would even be able to join the EU without drastically cutting expenditure. However, Derek Mackay plans to go further than even the SNP’s pet economist Andrew Wilson suggested in his Growth Commission report, by cutting the deficit in fewer than five years. This would mean over £7billion in cuts or extra taxes.
Scotland is far more secure as part of the Union and it is imperative that we continue to prove wrong any SNP attempt to suggest otherwise. An independent Scotland is not financially viable.
Member Views is a series of opinion pieces written by Blue Beyond members. Amber is an executive member of the Moray Conservatives and Unionists and is based in Elgin, Scotland.