Claims made today by the SNP’s deputy leader that Scotland could get its deficit down to three per cent would mean finding savings of more than £7 billion a year, it has emerged.
Writing in the National, Keith Brown said he believed it would take only three years to reduce the current black hole level of seven per cent – which is the highest in Europe.
However, based on this week’s Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures, achieving that saving would mean tax rises and schools, hospitals and infrastructure cuts to the tune of £7.2 billion.
That’s because the current gap between what Scotland raises in tax and spends on public services is currently £12.6 billion.
Reducing that from seven per cent to three per cent, as Mr Brown suggests, would mean a deficit level of just £5.4 billion, a difference of £7.2 billion.
Nicola Sturgeon’s separation plans came under more pressure this week after the GERS statistics revealed the “union dividend” is worth £2000 to every man, woman and child in Scotland.
Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said:
“These claims could be laughed off were it not for the fact they’ve been made by the deputy leader of Scotland’s governing party.
“Presumably this means it’s now SNP policy to seek ongoing tax hikes worth more than £7 billion, or cutting public services by an equivalent amount.
“Put simply, that means devastating cuts to schools, hospitals, councils and infrastructure - at the same time as hiking personal taxes for millions of ordinary working Scots.
“Neither is an acceptable option, which is why the nationalists must take the threat of another independence referendum off the table.
“No-one thought the SNP could get more fanciful and deluded than its infamous and derided White Paper.
“But Keith Brown is now doing exactly that.”
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