GERS figures released; White Paper’s dishonesty exposed
In the month that Scotland would have become independent had the referendum vote been a Yes, the annual Scottish expenditure and revenues bulletin GERS shows Scotland’s public spending was almost £15bn more than its tax revenue in the last financial year.
Including a geographic share of offshore tax revenue, Scotland’s 2014-15 deficit was £14.9bn, or 9.7% of GDP. The equivalent measure for the UK as a whole was a deficit of £89bn. That was 4.9% of GDP.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:
“These figures from the SNP Government show once and for all the devastating impact leaving the UK would have had on Scotland’s finances.
The fact that the cuts that would have been needed after separation would have been five times more than those being imposed now by George Osborne gives a sense of the impact on our schools and hospitals. People were misled by the SNP in the run-up to the referendum and that is unforgivable.
Voting to stay in the UK and the recent fiscal framework deal means that the Barnett formula is protected. The new consensus in Scottish politics around the principle of no detriment and the value of pooling and sharing resources must extend to all constitutional choices.
We avoided these massive cuts by voting to remain in the UK and we can avoid the cuts that are actually taking place to schools and other vital public services now by voting Labour. We have put forward a bold plan to stop the SNP’s cuts by setting a Scottish rate of Income Tax just 1p higher than the rate set by George Osborne. Faced with the choice between using the powers of the Scottish Parliament to invest in the future and grow our economy or carrying on with the SNP’s cuts to schools, we choose to use the powers.”