Different priorities under independence
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