‘Sturgeon slowdown’ will create £2 billion black hole in Scotland’s finances

15 Dec 2017


Scotland’s public services are on course to lose £2 billion in vital revenue thanks to a “Sturgeon slowdown” in the economy, the Scottish Conservatives are warning today.

Forecasts published by the Scottish Fiscal Commission yesterday showed lower than expected growth until 2022.

As a result, compared to official projections made earlier this year, Scotland is now expected to raise £2.1 billion less than projected in tax revenue.

Next year alone, the lost revenue due to lower growth is expected to be £205 million compared to projections earlier this year – more than the £164 million that Ministers are to take from the pockets of low, middle and high earners.

The Scottish Conservatives today are repeating their call  for the SNP to dump their ‘Nat Tax’ , saying the figures prove that it is economic growth – not tax rises – which must be the priority.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission yesterday warned that economic growth will only reach 0.7% next year and will only rise to 1.1% by 2022.

This is lower than growth in the rest of the UK – meaning Scotland’s tax take will be lower over the coming period.

Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for finance Murdo Fraser MSP said:

“Thanks to the coming Sturgeon slowdown, the Scottish Government is projected to raise £2 billion less than expected over the remainder of this Parliament.

“That’s £2 billion less going to schools and hospitals because of the failure to match levels of growth we are seeing elsewhere in the UK.

“The SNP’s answer is to introduce a new Nat Tax – but these figures show if we had higher growth, there would be no need to do so.

“The SNP’s Nat tax isn’t just a broken promise, it’s bad economics. Hanging a sign at the border saying higher taxes will drive away jobs and leave Scotland further behind other parts of the UK.

“Nicola Sturgeon broke her promise on tax this week. She said she wouldn’t increase taxes on basic rate taxpayers, but that’s exactly what she’s done.

“It is time she apologised, and instead focussed her government on delivering the growth we need to support our vital public services.”

See below the official forecasts produced by the Scottish Fiscal Commission this week compared to Scottish Government forecasts in February. The figures have been revised down due to the lower growth forecasts.

Forecast (£million) 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
SG February 2017 12,320 12,943 13,681 14,595
2018/19 Draft Budget 12,115 12,582 13,084 13,662
Lost revenue 205 361 597 933