Published On: Wed, Aug 21st, 2019

Scotland news: Sturgeon red faced as report shows every Scot is £1,968 better off IN UK | UK | News

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire after Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) figures revealed the deficit is seven percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) – the highest deficit in Europe, according to Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson. Critics say the figures proves Ms Sturgeon’s “relentless push” for a second independence referendum would make “everybody poorer” because the Union dividend is worth £1,968 more to every Scottish citizen.

The Union dividend is a term used to describe the financial benefits Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are believed to derive from being parts of the UK.

Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene tweeted: “Today’s GERS figures confirm that the union dividend is worth £2,000 to every man, woman and child in Scotland.

“But Nicola Sturgeon wants to get rid of that with her relentless push for separation and make everybody poorer.

“It’s quite astonishing that Scotland’s deficit is more than half of the whole UK figure.

“The fact that SNP ministers are celebrating a seven percent deficit screams volumes about their competency in managing Scotland’s economy.

“That’s quite some spin. The UK deficit is 1.1 percent, Scotland’s is seven percent. The last time the UK had that large a deficit was in the aftermath of the financial crash. There just doesn’t seem to be any kind of economic strategy from this SNP government #GERS”

Ms Davidson launched an attack on Ms Sturgeon’s SNP saying it was “criminally negligent” for the party “to pretend a seven percent deficit is not an issue”.

She tweeted: “With a tax take £307 per person lower and expenditure £1661 higher, today’s #GERS figures show Scots are nearly £2000 per year better off for Scotland being part of the United Kingdom.”

READ MORE: Davidson attacks Sturgeon’s ‘criminally negligent’ SNP 

Mr Jack added: “These Scottish Government figures also show there would be a £12.6 billion black hole at the centre of an independent Scotland’s finances.

“Real questions need to be asked about the First Minister’s stewardship of the country’s economy.

“With Scotland’s deficit now more than six times greater than the UK average, the Scottish Government needs to take action.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for Ms Sturgeon “to admit that her independence plans would mean unprecedented cuts for Scotland’s schools and hospitals”.

He added: “These figures underline the importance to Scotland’s vital public services like our NHS of remaining part of the UK.

“A stand-alone Scotland would have one of the biggest fiscal deficits in the developed world, and the SNP’s shock treatment plan to close it is by dumping the pound and imposing unprecedented levels of austerity.”

The Scottish First Minister has stepped up her campaign to use Brexit to drag Scotland out of the Union and is plotting to hold a second referendum.

Official figures today revealed Scotland’s fiscal deficit fell for the third year running but the Government is still spending £12.6 billion more than it receives despite record tax revenues.

Gers statistics reveal the deficit is seven percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), compared with the UK’s 1.1 percent fiscal deficit.

The independent Gers report estimated the level of public revenue raised in Scotland and the level of public spending under the current constitutional arrangements.

Public spending in Scotland was £75.3 billion, with taxes raising £62.7 billion, in the 2018-19 financial year.

The “black hole” in Scotland’s finances has improved on last year’s £13.4 billion deficit including North Sea oil and gas revenue, without which the deficit would be £14.1 billion, or 8.5 percent of Scottish GDP.

The Gers figures also show current budget balance – Government spending not including capital investment – faced a £7.9 billion deficit (4.4 percent of GDP) while the UK was running a surplus of £18.1 billion (0.8 percent of GDP).

Total public sector expenditure for Scotland in 2018-19 is estimated to be £75.3 billion, an increase of 2.5 percent on last year and equivalent to 9.3 percent of total UK public sector expenditure.

However, the Gers report said Scottish Government spending as a share of GDP “has been falling in recent years”, down by 0.7 percent excluding the North Sea figures.

he report said: “This reflects GDP growing relatively faster in Scotland.

“Including an illustrative geographical share of the North Sea, expenditure as a share of GDP fell by 1.3 percentage points in 2018-19.

“This reflects an increase in North Sea GDP, which grew by 29% in 2018-19, helped by rising production.”

The figures, compiled by Scotland’s chief statistician, show that last year public sector revenue was £11,531 per person, £307 less than the UK average, while total expenditure in Scotland was £13,854 per person, £1,661 higher than the UK average.

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