Oil not the answer
Conflicting political views on economy
The candidates for the Rutherglen seat in May’s Scottish election have given their reaction to the publication of the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures.
Those who support remaining in the UK said the figures, which show a £15billion deficit in Scotland, prove the country is better off as part of the union.
But the SNP’s Clare Haughey said the GERS figures did not tell the whole story.
Sitting Labour MSP, James Kelly, said: “What these figures show is that Scotland within the UK spends £15bn more than it collects in taxes.
“That means the SNPs plans for an independent Scotland would have had a devastating effect on what we spend on schools, hospitals and housing here in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
“People are starting to waken up to the fact there is dishonesty at the heart of the SNP’s approach.
“The figures in the White Paper were bogus and they tried to con people into trying to pretend that you can have a land of milk and honey.”
But Ms Haughey hit back, saying the GERS figures only portrayed Scotland’s economy within the union.
She said: “Scotland is rich in human talent and natural resources.
“But what we lack are the economic levers to maximise growth in our economy, and invest according to our own priorities.
“Even after the Smith Commission powers are fully implemented, 71 per cent of taxes raised in Scotland will be controlled in Westminster. And, our ability to grow our population – and our tax base – is limited by the UK Government too.”
Both the Conservative and Lib Dem candidates also had their say on the issue.
Taylor Muir, who is standing for the Conservatives, said: “The bottom line is that, in good times and bad, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are better off in one union, facing global challenges together.
“These figures today illustrate the impact of the falling oil price on Scotland’s balance sheet and shed new light on the SNP’s deception before the referendum.
“Had their con succeeded, we would now be only days away from separating the most successful political union in history in favour of a leap into the dark.”
Lib Dem candidate Robert Brown said: “The new figures should destroy for ever the SNP’s economic and financial case for independence. Independence comes with a price tag of £15bn - a enormous sum, equal to half the Scottish Government’s current budget.
These are facts and it is time the SNP accepted them as such rather than having their usual dismissive ‘it’ll be all right on the night’ attitude.
“The United Kingdom provides a dynamic economic union which benefits us all - particularly against this kind of fluctuation in a key component like oil revenues.”
Black stuff Falling oil prices have been blamed for Scotland’s £15bn financial black hole