Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP, again said today on Good Morning Scotland that Scotland had not faced budget cuts but it had increased in real terms. While Derek MacKay, SNP Finance Secretary, argues it had fallen by 9.2% in real terms, don’t you just hate the f language used, real terms!
The Fraser of Allan Institute has tried to explain who is telling the truth and who isn’t, and it is bloody confusing whichever way you look at it as the politicians, as always, pick the stats they like and obviously discard the ones they don’t.
Scotland’s budget is made of TME ( Total Managed Expenditure ) which is then split up into two areas, DEL (Department Expenditure Limit) and AME (Annually Managed Expenditure). You then have differing elements within DEL.
Fiscal Revenue DEL has decreased by 6% (1.7 Billion) since 2010/11.
Non-cash DEL has increased by around 300 million since 2010/11.
Capital DEL has decreased by 16%, around 600 million, since 2010/11 however the Scottish Government can now borrow more money but obviously this then gets paid back with interest.
The AME budget is £6.5bn in 2017/18 and this has increased by 27% in real terms since 2010/11. This money is mostly taken up by pensions and the Scottish Government have no discretion over this budget at all as it’s administered via the Westminster Government.
NDRI (Non-domestic rates) is another part of AME and has increased by 14% since 2010/11. This is basically the tax we receive from businesses.
But what does all this actually mean?
According to FAI the amount of money the Scottish Government has to spend (the budget) on services has decreased by 5% since 2010/11. Non cash DEL has decreased by 7.4% since 2010/11. TME has basically increased by 0.4% and of course all of this is in real f terms.
So basically depending on what figures you want to use Murdo Fraser is telling some of the truth but not a lot and Derek MacKay is telling some of the truth but a bit more than Murdo Fraser. What a shambles.
But whichever way the politicians want to play games with the statistics they use, or the semantics of their analysis, you cannot hide the fact that there have been cuts, huge cuts. Just look at the approximate figures below for my own local authority:
Dundee City Council Cuts
2011/12 – 14.5 million.
2012/13 – 10 million.
2013/14 – 10 million.
2014/15 – 3.3 million
2016/18 – 28 million.
These ‘real term’ savings have had a real impact on how many staff are employed within Dundee City Council and how services are delivered, not much of it good depending on your point of view. However, I wish politicians on all sides would stop playing f games with the figurers, we are talking about all of our lives here, it’s not a f game.