27 Sep 2012
The Deputy First Minister made yet another economic gaffe today when she wrongly claimed the Scottish Government’s annual accounts already include Scotland’s share of the £66billion given to bail out RBS and Lloyds.
At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson challenged Nicola Sturgeon to reveal how much of the bank debt a separate Scotland would take on.
Based on Treasury figures, an independent Scotland would be liable for a bill of almost £6billion to take into account its share of the banking bail-out.
However, the Deputy First Minister instead claimed this money was already included in the latest Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures.
But Nicola Sturgeon referred to taxpayers’ money given to the banks after the initial bail-out in 2008 – of which Scotland’s share currently stands at £1billion.
In the last week, Finance Secretary John Swinney confirmed a separate Scotland would take on a share of the banking debt, but refused to say how much.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:
“The first rule about responding to questions about your economic competence is not to get your figures spectacularly wrong.
“This is yet another embarrassing economic gaffe from Nicola Sturgeon, and more evidence of this being a back-of-a-fag-packet Scottish Government.
“Instead of facing up to the debt responsibilities a separate Scotland would have to shoulder, she attempted to dupe the people of Scotland into thinking everything will be alright.
“The reality is, we will be liable for taking on billions of pounds of debt from the bailout of RBS and Lloyds.
“It is simply staggering that the SNP has failed to take this into account when adding up its sums for the cost of separation.
“It’s another example of a tough question being asked, and because the Scottish Government doesn’t like the answer, it fudges a flawed response.”
Notes to Editors:
John Swinney, speaking to the Institute of Chartered Accountants on Friday, admitted Scotland would have to take a share of RBS and Lloyds date: (paywall)
Figure 4 shows the RBS and Lloyds bailout to be £45.8 billion and £20.54 billion respectively, making a total of £66.3 billion.
On a population share of 8.4 per cent, this equates to £5.57billion.