You can forget having lunch in an independent Scotland

You can forget having lunch in an independent Scotland

by Ed Glasgow
article from Thursday 5, September, 2019

THE LATEST Times poll on the 4th of September shows Yes support for Independence at 49 per cent and No at 51 per cent. You would think that the SNP would be delighted with these figures (they will put a brave face on it and say that they are) but the reality is that these figures are a disaster for the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon. 

Why? 

On the face of it they look very good. The Yes vote has increased but considering that the UK is going through the worst political crisis in our lifetimes the Yes vote really should be polling around 60-65 per cent, which they really need to have to be certain of winning a referendum. 

Why is that? 

The SNP’s case for independence is based on two precepts. One is that countries should rule themselves and shouldn’t be ruled by others – independence is normal el al therefore we should be independent. The other is that Scotland would be better off financially if independent. 

The first precept could be construed as true depending on your viewpoint but the second is the opposite of the reality that faces Scotland. Scotland’s fiscal position over the last four years is probably the worst it has been, relative to the rest of the UK, since WW2. Although our deficit as a percentage of GDP is 6.98 per cent the same deficit for the rUK is only 0.55 per cent. Scotland’s deficit per head is almost thirteen times that of the rUK and getting worse. In 2017/18 it was 5.5 times and in 2014/15 it was just 2 times that of the rUK. 

Why should this be? The primary reason isn’t that Scotland isn’t doing well, it is. Scotland’s nominal revenue per head last year rose by 4.95 per cent and our expenditure rose by 2.48 per cent. By contrast the rUK’s nominal revenue per head only rose by 4.39 per cent and expenditure by 1.85 per cent. The problem for Scotland is that the rUK’s deficit per head is falling like a stone due to the strong fiscal performance of England, whereas Scotland’s deficit per head is literally falling like a feather. Last year Scotland’s deficit per head fell by by 8.42 per cent – but the rUK’s deficit per head fell by 61.1 per cent. This was due to England running a full fiscal surplus in 2018/19 of around £10 billion. 

This impacts massively on our fiscal transfer. 

Last year, 2018/19, Scotland received £10.7bn in ‘subsidies’ from the UK. Since the Tories came to power in 2010 Scotland has received some £58 billion (nominal) and some £60.5 billion (in 2018/19 prices to March 2019) from the Barnett Formula. Around £11,227 per head (In real terms). That’s £45,000 per family of 4 just since the Tories came to power. The SNP has, so far, managed to avoid scrutiny of these numbers but that would never survive another referendum campaign. (Journalists, please take note.) 

If we look much further back, Scotland has been ‘subsidised’ since 1983 by the UK and by April 2020 will have been ‘subsidised’ since 1980 (in real terms). Very soon, their old argument that we have been ‘subsidising’ the UK since 1980 will no longer hold water. 

Although Independence, and to a great degree, Brexit, aren’t solely based on money, the financial implications of it do have great bearing on how people would vote. 

Imagine this scenario. Scotland votes for Independence. We rapidly agree a Free Trade Agreement with the UK; with no hard border and full freedom of movement between countries. Scotland takes its share of the national debt and we end up with a totally amicable split and even get to keep using the pound. They even help us set up our systems to minimise costs. Where would that leave us? 

Even in that absolutely best case scenario Scotland would lose around £10-£11bn a year that we currently get for free through the Scottish bloc funding allocation and the consequential increases from the Barnett Formula. Instead, Scotland would have to fund the full amount of our national debt instead of the small percentage that we currently do so at the moment. 

All in all, the SNP should think themselves lucky to have 49 per cent in the opinion polls for independence because when journalists start reading and understanding our accounts and quoting these numbers, that percentage is more likely to go down than up. 

The SNP, for years, has managed to massage the economic figures. A compliant media in Scotland has aided them in this deception and they have managed to present a totally false rosy picture of what life would be like in an independent Scotland. 

You only need to look at our failing services and the massive cuts that they have made these last few years to see just how incompetent they really are. Westminster has sent them billions and billions for years and yet they have still managed to cut teachers numbers. They’ve still managed to cut nurses and Doctors numbers. They’ve still managed to cut funding to our council services. They’ve still managed to cut almost everything. 

If they could do all of that with the benefit of £60 billion of free money since 2010 from Westminster then think what they would do to our country once Westminster stops sending us this money? 

If you want to see what an Independent Scotland would look like under the SNP then look no further than what they have already done. The austerity we have had since 2008/09 is but a minor blip compared to the austerity that the SNP has planned for us should the Scottish people ever vote for independence. 

There’s an old saying. ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ Under an Independent SNP Scotland you won’t need to worry about a free lunch. You won’t even get a lunch.

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