Better Together: 'Scotland better off independent'.
19 October 2012
Somebody, somewhere in the Better Together campaign either thought they'd spotted a flaw in the SNP's interpretation of the GERS figures, or more likely they thought, 'a little white lie will throw a spanner in the works'. Either way, a recent graphic doing the rounds on Twitter (and quoted by Ruth Davidson on Question Time) says that by being part of the UK, Scotland receives £10.7 billion more than it pays in.
That is correct. Where does this £10.7 billion come from? It is borrowed by the UK govt.
Here's my understanding of the figures.
The UK as a whole raised £553bn in income, but spent £686bn in expenditure. The UK as a whole was therefore £133bn in deficit. That is, 19% of the UK's expenditure was borrowed.
Scotland raised £53bn in income, but spent £64bn in expenditure. Scotland was therefore £11bn in deficit. That is, 17% of Scotland's expenditure was borrowed.
Both the UK as a whole and Scotland are spending more than we're bringing in, but Scotland's economy is LESS in deficit than the UK's.
The only way in which the 'extra £10.7bn' is a benefit of the union to Scotland, is if you assume that we don't have to pay it back. Sadly, whether as part of the UK, or as an independent country, we will have to pay back our share of the debt.
Therefore the figures they quote are an argument FOR independence, not against.