Oil not the an­swer

Con­flict­ing political views on econ­omy

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

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

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