24 Aug 2016
Every man, woman and child north of the border is better off to the tune of £1600 thanks to Scotland being part of the UK, it has been revealed.
The much-anticipated Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures have emphasised just how valuable our membership of the wider UK is.
They show Scotland currently has a deficit of £14.8 billion, which is 9.5 per cent of GDP.
That compares to the UK’s deficit of four per cent, a gap of 5.5 per cent.
And using the measure favoured by former First Minister Alex Salmond to claim Scots were “better off per head” ahead of the 2014 referendum, today’s data shows an independent Scotland would have to find an additional £8.6 billion to plug the financial hole.
The GERS document, which analyses the wellbeing of Scotland’s economy in 2015/16, states oil and gas accounted for just 0.1 per cent of total tax revenue, compared to 17 per cent in 2011/12.
That means oil tax receipts have plummeted by 99 per cent in four years.
Shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said that proved the need more than ever for the Scottish Government to start actively exploring the possibility of fracking.
Scotland’s overall contribution to the rest of the UK was also shown to have decreased.
Four years ago Scottish tax revenue accounted for 9.5 per cent of Britain’s tax income, but that has now decreased to 7.9 per cent.
Despite that, public spending has stayed much the same in that time.
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:
“Today’s GERS analysis simply confirms the fact that Scotland benefits massively from being a member of the United Kingdom.
“When times are tough in Scotland, as they are now, the union means we can top up public spending so we don’t have to make huge cuts to the NHS or increase family tax bills.
“This union dividend amounted to £1600 for every man, woman and child last year, according to these figures.
“That’s how unions work – when one member needs support, the union provides it.
“The SNP now needs to take heed of the facts for once.
“In recent days we have seen the First Minister fear-mongering over the UK’s decision to leave the EU in the hope she can hide the flaws in her own separation plan.
“It would be better if she faced up to the truth – you don’t meet the challenges of leaving one union by quitting one of far more importance to Scotland’s prosperity.
“Even the SNP’s own MPs say five more painful years of cuts would be necessary to deal with the shock of separation.
“There is an easy way for this threat to be lifted and that is for Nicola Sturgeon to ditch her negative campaign to split up Britain.
“It is time she acted like a proper First Minister, ended her unwanted plan to take us back to another toxic referendum, and allowed Scotland to move on.”
On the need for exploring shale potential to ease the impact of the North Sea oil crisis, Murdo added:
“This is the strongest signal yet that Scotland must get ahead and explore the potential of shale extraction.
“The oil industry is going through an extremely tough time and, while there are measures being put in place to help it recover, we need to do something in the meantime.
“The only reason we’re not looking at fracking north of the border is because of the SNP and Labour’s political dogma.
“That is a disgrace, and as we can see from these statistics, it’s damaging Scotland’s economic prospects too.”
To see the full figures, visit: