Dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties un­der in­de­pen­dence

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Letters To The Editor -

Dear Edi­tor, In his let­ter to the Ad­ver­tiser [Oc­to­ber 17 edi­tion], Ron­nie Wright says he thinks the Government Ex­pen­di­ture & Rev­enue Scot­land (GERS) deficit of £13.44 bil­lion for 2017-18 (-7.9) in­di­cates that Scot­tish peo­ple de­pend on English hand-outs for sur­vival.

How can or­di­nary work­ing-class English folk be so char­i­ta­ble when the UK Government has a debt of £1.7 tril­lion, and the high­est trade deficit in the EU – by far ? Mr Wright should ex­plain.

Us­ing his own lu­di­crous “anal­y­sis”, Mr Wright will have to ad­mit that the whole of the UK, out­side of Lon­don and South East Eng­land, de­pends on char­ity from Lon­don to sur­vive.

If Lon­don and South East Eng­land are ex­cluded, Scot­land (ex­clud­ing oil and gas rev­enues), with only 11.3 per cent of the “rest of the UK” pop­u­la­tion, con­trib­uted 12.6 per cent of “rest of UK” tax rev­enues.

In fact, the UK it­self has had a deficit of -7.1 per cent, or above, for six of the last 10 years.

GERS is sim­ply a crude al­lo­ca­tion of money shares to Scot­land which are not ac­tu­ally spent in Scot­land.

It is a pic­ture of Scot­land un­der a heav­ily cen­tralised UK econ­omy – one of the most cen­tralised in the world. Eng­land’s re­gional economies suf­fer from the same sit­u­a­tion. An in­de­pen­dent Scot­land would have very dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties.

Scot­land spend £3.4 bil­lion on de­fence each year, and the Repub­lic of Ire­land spends £900 mil­lion. Scot­land sends £0.4 bil­lion a year up-keep­ing the Com­mons, the Lords, the Scot­land Of­fice and count­less White­hall civil ser­vice de­part­ments. Scot­tish money pays for pageantry in Lon­don and for BBC Lon­don.

Mr Wright should con­sider why Ire­land has bet­ter-paid teach­ers than Scot­land and bet­ter state pen­sions; why Den­mark’s state pen­sion is 80 per cent of the av­er­age wage; and why the top eco­nomic per­form­ing coun­tries in the world are over­whelm­ingly small states the size of Scot­land. Coun­cil­lor Tom Johnston (SNP, North La­nark­shire Coun­cil), via email

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