Bombshell figures have revealed the gap between public spending in Scotland and the rest of the UK has reached a record high.
New Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) statistics have shown an “enormous gap” between what Scotland raises in tax and what it spends in public services, totalling nearly £2000 for every man, woman and child.
And public spending here is £1661 more per person than the rest of Britain, it was revealed.
It means Scotland accounts for half of the UK’s entire deficit, despite having roughly 10 per cent of the population.
The net fiscal deficit was £12.6 billion in 2018/19, which is seven per cent of GDP. In contrast, the UK’s overall deficit is 1.1 per cent.
Even in European terms, the country with the next worst deficit is Cyprus, with 4.8 per cent.
Shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said the figures provided one of the strongest arguments yet that the SNP’s ongoing bid for independence should be taken off the table for good.
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:
“These figures reveal an enormous gap between what Scotland spends and what it raises in tax.
“We can have much higher spending in Scotland on public services thanks only to fiscal transfers from the rest of the UK, now worth £2000 for every man, woman and child in Scotland.
“These figures make it clear – had we followed Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s advice in 2014 and backed independence – Scotland would now be facing up to an unprecedented financial black hole.
“Thanks to this union dividend, we continue to dodge the SNP bullet.
“What is remarkable is that, despite today’s clear evidence of the cost of independence, Nicola Sturgeon is still demanding we re-run the independence referendum as early as next year.
“Not only is she unable to spell out how she’d close the gap between spending and tax revenue, she can’t even tell us which currency we would use.
“These figures show once again that the SNP’s independence obsession isn’t standing up for Scotland – it would wreck Scotland.
“It’s time to take indyref2 off the table, and back a Scottish Conservative plan to get back to the things that matter – growing our economy, delivering high-quality public services, and keeping the UK together.”
Notes to editors:
- Public spending per person in Scotland is £1661 greater than the UK average. Public spending per person in Scotland is £13,854, compared to the average of £12193 in the UK as a whole meaning that spending is £1661 greater in Scotland than in the UK, the highest it has ever been. This is an increase of £91 spending per person compared to 2017-18. (Scottish Government, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland, 21 August 2019, link)
- Revenue per person in Scotland is £307 lower than the UK average. Revenue per person in Scotland is £11,531 compared to £11,838 in the UK as a whole. (Scottish Government, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland, 21 August 2019, link)
- An independent Scotland would have the largest deficit in the EU and would break EU member state rules. Scotland’s total net fiscal deficit was £12.6 billion, 7.0 per cent of GDP while across the UK as a whole it was 1.1 per cent. Cyprus’ net fiscal deficit, the highest for any EU member state, was 4.8 per cent in 2018. EU member states are required to have a budget deficit of below 3 per cent. (Eurostat, Government Deficit and Debt, 15 July 2019, link)
- Scotland’s deficit is six times the size of the UK’s. In 2018-19 Scotland’s total net fiscal deficit was £12.6 billion or 7 per cent of GDP. While across the UK as a whole it was only 1.1 per cent. (Scottish Government, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland, 21 August 2019, link)