Honestly, I cannot believe that I have to respond to such utter nonsense but when MPs (ok, Angus MacNeil) are retweeting and disseminating such complete drivel then I think someone has to point out how wrong they are. So… this pish:
Where do you start with this? I’m not sure there’s a single thing that is accurate in it.
Scotland has no deficit
Pointless sophistry. Holyrood does have borrowing powers, extended through the Scotland Acts 2012 and 2016, but the overall deficit that is laid out in GERS is the gap between Scotland’s public revenue, i.e. taxation, and Scotland’s spending. It is a deficit in the same way that health boards have deficits, councils have deficits and… erm… governments have deficits.
1) We didn’t create it
Erm… yeah we did. For 2015/16 Scotland raised £53.7bn in revenues including our full geographical share of oil and gas whilst spending £68.6bn. That leaves a £14.8bn deficit, the gap between what we raised and what we spent.
For the usual desperate excuses on “yeah but what about”, see here:
- we shouldn’t be paying for debt. Nonsense – #4 here [LINK]
- we pay more for defence than is spent in Scotland – Drivel. Part 1, here [LINK]
- we pay for Crossrail and London Underground and London sewers. No we bloody don’t. See below
- GERS Denying and Wishful Thinking [LINK]
- Reserved and Non-identifiable spending [LINK]
2) We’ll get some assets, DEFICIT GONE
You what? Are you going to sell the Forth Road Bridge? Every single year?!
(also, per Ron Sturrock’s comment below, the Whole Government Accounts for the UK show total assets of £1.5 trillion, not the £8.8 trillion cited)
3) Scotland contributes to London projects like:
- Crossrail, £18bn – no, we don’t. £0 is assigned to Scotland in GERS for Crossrail because we only pay for rail infrastructure in Scotland. [LINK]. Indeed, we benefit from Barnett consequentials for Crossrail so not only do we not contribute the mythical £18 billion dreamt up by the meme, we gain funds to spend in Scotland.
- Olympics, £8bn – no, we don’t. GERS assigns £0 to Scotland for capital spend on the Olympics.
- Refurbishment of London Underground, £16bn – no, we don’t. As above, we pay for railway expenditure IN Scotland only.
- New airport / 3rd runway – well, no. First, it hasn’t even started yet so clearly it hasn’t cost anyone any money, nevermind Scotland and so clearly hasn’t had any impact on our near-£15bn deficit.
- New sewage tunnel, London, £16bn – no, we don’t. This isn’t even public spend. It’s funded by the private sector and Thames Water customers. No government money is being spent on this so obviously no Scottish contribution.
- HS2, £50bn – this is the one exception where we actually do provide a contribution. But not the 8.3% suggested. In GERS, Scotland contributes 2% of the HS2 spend per the economic benefit agreed in the Economic Case for HS2 paper. Further to that, we also benefit from full Barnett consequentials for all HS2 spend, meaning that we are net beneficiaries to almost 4 times the spend we are responsible for.
(for a full debunking of the Wings Over Scotland generated myth on infrastructure spending, see here [LINK])
So not £109bn… but maybe £1 billion of total spending between now and 2033 for HS2, for which we’ll receive almost four times more back in Barnett consequentials.
As for the percentages of power devolved, I think this is trying to refer to the revenue raising powers that are devolved. As if the Scottish Parliament only receives funding commensurate to the devolved taxes. This is, rather obviously, nonsense. All of Scotland’s taxes and revenues are attributed in GERS and we spend them all and then some… hence the deficit.
This pathetic meme is nothing more than the latest desperate attempt from the lunatic online fringe to deny the veracity of GERS. That they need to rely on such painfully obvious falsehoods should tell you all you need to know. If there really were something wrong, they wouldn’t need to lie.
Sadly, it’s not just the lunatic fringe though. Here’s your MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar…
That, to be frank, is a disgrace.