Back to the Old Chesnut that causes constipation

Like the day after the GERS figures come out in Scotland unionists think Christmas has come early – Full Fact looked at the claim that

Scotland does not receive any money from England but instead receives part of its contribution back.

The Express make the claim that this is nationalist propaganda, they highlight the so-called fact that Scotland spends £97bn which is £23.7bn more than they raised in tax. Full Fact found that, based on GERS figures, Scotland’s public sector revenue was £73.8 billion, based on a calculation which essentially attributes all public sector revenues from North Sea gas and oil activity to Scotland.

The block grant provided to Scotland during 2021/22 amounted to £33.1 billion (after adjustments for tax and welfare).  As this is lower than the £54.7 billion which is collected from Scotland by the UK Government, it is technically accurate to say that the UK Government sends only part of the money it collects from Scotland back to Scottish public authorities.

The Scottish Government says: “Total expenditure for the benefit of Scotland by the Scottish Government, UK Government, and all other parts of the public sector was £97.5 billion.” Of the £97.5 billion, £35.9 billion was provided by UK Government bodies outside of Scotland. Full Fact come to the conclusion that in combination with the £33.1 billion block grant, this means the amount the UK Government either sends Scottish authorities or spends for Scotland, is higher than the £54.7 billion collected from the country.

Now the first point I feel I sadly have to make yet again, much of this so-called subsidy is spend that we have no say on, foreign policy, defence, energy, infrastructure projects that are UK wide. The Windsor funeral would be one, Brexit Day would be another, money to Ukraine, money stolen as a result of Covid-19, and most of it is debt we also didn’t ask for. None of that spend we have any say in how we want to spend OUR money. However, as Richard Murphy from Tax Research points out every year,

No one actually knows how much profit is made in Scotland and no one will until there is a national account for it.

Richard goes on to point out that no one also knows how much Scottish rent and interest paid is subject to tax in England when it should be taxed in Scotland. And since wages only represent half of GDP the obvious fact that GDP may be shifted out of Scotland to present distortions is high, with tax being understated as a result.

While Full Fact are technically correct in what they say based on the GERS figures, as Richard Murphy points out “data in GERS is unfit for purpose. It is very likely wrong. And it does not answer any fair question that can be posed about the actions of any government of Scotland.  All we need to do is keep pointing that out in that case”. Until there is a detailed and appropriate gathering of information of what the true economic figures are for Scotland, we are going to have to put up with this BULLSHIT year on year. The yoons out there should not get too excited but the Scottish Government also need to stop using GERS to run down the Scottish economy unless the figures are actually true. Richard was asked this question last year

Hope you don’t mind me asking this, but if the GERS figures are so inaccurate, why does the (SNP) Scottish Government not change the methodology? The figures as currently produced are significantly damaging to the economic case for independence, so it would be in their interest. Perhaps the answer is that, in broad terms, the methodology and the figures it produces are valid?

His answer was so true regarding the Scottish Government under Nicola Sturgeon “Alternatively, and is clear from other economic actions and policies, they are really not that bothered by independence”.

You can read Richard’s analysis here and it is well worth a read as always as it explains the unionist propaganda really well, sadly it is the same propaganda the SNP use by using GERS as a way to stop independence. The SNP will release their economic case in a couple of weeks, all indications are they are sticking to sterilisation and the growth commission, if true, then we might as well not be independent as that leaves the Bank of England in control of Scotland’s finances, no different to what we have now, that is the Sturgeon doctrine.

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