Economics of Independence

The question to ask every unionist about GERS

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Westminster decided not to take a similar approach to Norway with an oil wealth fund for rainy days

THE mainstream press are falling over themselves to point out the size of the financial deficit that Scotland has as part of the United Kingdom. From this, unionists conclude that Scotland cannot afford to be an independent nation and that it shows how much we need the UK to subsidise us. Putting aside that remarkable lack of respect and ambition for Scotland there is, however, a question the press are not asking.

It’s a small question, one that’s not difficult to understand, in fact I would say it should be the first thing out of the mouth of any self respecting journalist looking at GERS and having just received a quote from a sycophantic Westminster politician about black holes. They should simply ask “how come”? They could even use the shorter version “Why”? Why, when Scotland is a country with an embarrassment of economic advantages that any small to medium-sized independent country would give their left arm for, do we have a financial deficit greater than any other independent European nation of similar size? Why, if we really are Better Together and the basis of our economy is so strong are we not doing better than those we would benchmark against?

Why, when being run from Westminster is supposed to be such an advantage, does GERS (the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) report clearly demonstrate that it isn’t. Look at benchmark nations, ones with a similar-sized population to Scotland that coexist in the same Western European geographic, economic and political environment, but are independent. According to GERS all Scotland’s benchmark independent EU members (and Norway) are financially better off than Scotland – how come?

Those nations would love to have Scotland’s oil and use it for the good of their own citizens, Norway is far more reliant on oil than Scotland, but it has been saving up for a rainy day and can increase investment to stimulate growth and save jobs by investing from its oil fund when the best the UK government did for Aberdeen was a city deal that involved less cash per head than Manchester, a city that by comparison is booming. Sure the UK Government gave big tax breaks to the big corporates that run the oil industry but the jobs still melted away, as always they help the big corporates and not the people.

Denmark would love to have a national drink that generated £120 of exports per second, that generates massive tax takes in the locations it is sold throughout the UK. Scotch whisky companies would gladly sell you a bottle of whisky for £4, the rest you pay is the UK tax.

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A packed out Royal Mile, the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, adds £261m to the economy

Sitting in Edinburgh the city is alive with the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival attracting 500,000 visitors and adding £261m to Scotland’s economy. Belgium would love to have such a tourist attraction, never mind the beauty of wild Scotland or golf tourism.

Ireland would kill to have Scotland’s online gaming industry which has grown over 600 per cent – GTA the world’s best-selling game is made in Scotland and industry experts claim the gaming sector could grow to be worth more to Scottish economy than oil ever was.

Sweden would like to match Scotland educationally, (according to the Office of National Statistics) the adult population of Scotland is the most educated in the whole of Europe. Forty-five per cent of people in Scotland aged between 25 and 64 have experienced tertiary education – including university degrees and further education. Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland (all benchmark independent nations) vie for second place as the only other countries to get more than 40 per cent.

Finland must be massively envious that Scotland possesses 25 per cent of the EU’s entire tidal and wave energy potential, a source of energy that doesn’t pollute, won’t run out and, given Aberdeen energy sector leadership, we are better placed than anyone else to create a world centre for renewable energy, but no – Westminster prefers nuclear.

We got lucky with oil and now again with renewables lets not make the same mistake and see either the sector under-invested in or milked by Westminster. As part of the UK billions that should have been invested in Scotland and the North East were siphoned away when we should have been investing in, diversifying and strengthening our economy instead of paying off UK debt – Westminster and the unionist media never said thanks for all those years when Scotland bailed the UK out with our surpluses, but now we have two years where our figures are worse than the UK’s apparently we are the basket case.

The simple fact is GERS figures tell us nothing about how Scotland would have fared as an independent country under the same circumstances, as we would have implemented bespoke economic policies, had different tax rates and with either a sovereign oil fund or massive capital investment – we would have a radically different fiscal starting place.

It does tell us that our core onshore economy is strong, growing £1.9bn in tough conditions. But to see how Scotland would fare as an independent nation look at every benchmark country and ask how, when added together they can hardly match Scotland’s economic advantages, do they somehow manage to have smaller financial deficits than Scotland.

The difference is they get to make decisions for themselves, the people who choose economic strategies and investment policies are those closest to the problems and opportunities of the country and with their country’s best interest at heart.

Just for fun ask a Swede or a Norwegian, a Belgian or Dane if they think they would be better with a distant, dysfunctional, disinterested government from a larger nation that neither cares about nor understands their nation and its economy, making all their decisions for them.

No one would ever join such a union.

Brain drain to South East

Focus on the South East means a brain drain from other UK regions

When you run the UK with a strategy for generations that rips the wealth, youth, talent, power and opportunity out of the regions and draws into the London and South East bubble then regions of that nation will eventually run a deficit.

The regions subsidise London’s failing economic strategy with its very life blood and then unionists say Scotland is the one that is subsidised.

I have written before about how an independent Scotland could save billions in shared services we don’t need, that are added to our deficit by Westminster. Such as £1.2bn a year an independent Scotland could save on defence by going conventional and not taking part in illegal wars.

If however you want to see Scotland’s deficit get worse then all we have to do is stay with the UK when it eventually invokes Article 50. Then the UK’s economy will start to crumble like a Labour PFI project – which incidentally accounted for £1bn of Scotland’s deficit in the recent GERS.

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About the author

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is the Founder and Chief Executive of Business for Scotland. Before becoming CEO of Business for Scotland he ran a small social media and sales & marketing consultancy.

With a degree in business, marketing and economics, Gordon has worked as an economic development planning professional, and in marketing roles specialising in pricing modelling and promotional evaluation for global companies (including P&G).

Gordon benefits (not suffers) from dyslexia, and is a proponent of the emerging New Economics School. Gordon contributes articles to Business for Scotland, The National and The Huffington Post.

64 Comments

  • One question I have asked repeatedly and never had a satisfactory answer so I will ask again.
    If Scotland is such an economic drain on the UK , why is the UK so adamant that we cannot leave the UK?

    • Because the UK gov. of the day can not survive without Scotland’s vast resources. They use them for the benefit of London and the south of England. So they will lie, cheat and rig any vote that would otherwise reduce the ability to afford their lavish life style.

  • Thank you Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp.
    A well structured view.

    I was born and raised in Scotland.
    University educated (for free) in Scotland.
    And, started my career in Scotland.

    But, I was part of the brain drain from Scotland and moved to London for bigger $ available in the financial sector.

    I now live in Australia, a country with a bounty of natural resources and true self determination.
    Undoubtedly there would have been several times post independence in 1901 when wool or grain prices crashed sending Aussie living standards lower.
    But! ask any Aussie today if they would like to return to London rule and they will not be able to answer you…….. they will be laughing too hard!!

    With high unemployment, housing shortages and zero natural resources Singapore grained independence from Malaysia in 1965. Last time I looked things were going ok for that small island with similar population to Scotland. They delivered compond annual economic growth of 6.8% for 40 years.

    Sure! Be spectical, that’s healthy.
    So is to imagine, suspect, maintain or deduce that Scotland has blue sky upside.

  • Vast majority of GDP data comes straight from Whitehall and is then transparently worked to give a fair approximation by Scottish Government. I do not trust UK institutions in any way in their treatment of Scotland, and I do not trust the source data they provide.

    Scotland spends approximately £3.5 billion per annum servicing UK debt. By international convention, this will no longer apply if Scotland adopts the Euro or develops its own currency.

    The stated deficit reflects UK priorities in both public spending (such as trident), and taxation (such as allowing vastly profitable corporations to pay no tax). Scotland will do things differently.

  • Gordon Brexit (sorry to bring this up yet again) but on BBC breakfest (which I don’t normally watch)but today I was intrigued by a very distinguished looking gent from London area (your typical BBC expert on everythin) who went at great lenghts explaining that 85% of the world’s trade is outwith the EU and paintiung a very bright future in our ‘English’ speaking commonwealth cousins, Iam not learned enough to comment on this but for those of who are more learned perhaps ho could enlighten us all waht constarints the UK is currently under that mnakes trading difficult. Afterall Germany does reasonably well trading in Asia and the far east. Secondly as someone who fast approaching their twilight years I seem to remeber what life was like before we joined the EU. If my memory serves correctly british exports were rock bottom, the country was verging on bankruptcy and I wonder if anyone(yourself?) could take us back in time to those less the heyday days.

  • Good news on farming and manufacturing in the Scotsman atracting unprintable comments.

    Some people are hard to please.

  • Let’s increase public spending to £78 billion; charge annual ground rent on land and floorspace per square metre per land type and a person on average earnings will save around £10k per annum on tax.

    Abolish all other taxes. No dependancy on volatile oil or global economy prices. Business will flourish. Checkout www. Conveyancing direct.co.uk and click annual ground rent.

    The figures add up and the bonus is land reform.

  • First off. Do not ask a unionist a question about GERS. They think GERS figures are true.

    I am born and educated in Scotland but have worked and retired in Norway. The main difference between Scotland and Norway and the other small countries you mention is that they have national Budgets instead of GERS.

    Everybody knows the state of their economy and how much is spent on defence, education, transport, health, etc.
    They also know the income available to the state and accept that a reduction in taxes would reduce services.

    They are not always better off than Scotland but they do get to choose who will run their country. That is a very big difference.

    • It’s quite amazing. All the SNP supporters on an SNP supporting site telling us that the GERS figures produced by the SNP are rubbish. Are you seriously suggesting that the SNP are deliberately presenting a report that shows us in a worse state than we really are to try & persuade us to vote for independence?

      • You do realise they are not compiled by the SNP don’t you but by Scottish Government Civil Servants based on UK treasure figures given to all the regions. They contain fees for shared services, defence, interest on debt etc all of which would change / be up for negotiation under independence. So the accounting principles on the costs applied to Scotland are not under the control of the Scottish Government let alone the SNP. They do show that Scotland has a problem but given the fact that the core onshore economy grew roughly in line with he rest of the UK it can be argued that part of the solution to the problem is to have full control over the policies and economic levers of growth.

        • So again, are you saying the Scottish Government (the SNP) are putting their name to misleading figures? The figures which according to the SNP White Paper are the “authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances”

          • As posted elsewhere – It is serious issue that you don’t seem to understand the division of “party of Government” and “The Scottish Government” – GERS is compiled by the Government regardless of who is in charge and the base data comes from the Treasury in London these are facts. Using the data supplied to them the civil servants in Scotland compile the GERS figures using accounting rules laid down by / agreed with the Treasury for all regional accounts, North of England, Wales etc etc – it therefor includes a population share of costs of running the UK of which many would not apply in an independent Scotland. It is a useful publication more accurate on revenues than costs in that sense but it is not the cost base staring point for an independent Scotland.

        • The Scottish Government website reads as follows:
          “The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) web area provides information on the annually published GERS report. GERS is compiled by statisticians and economists in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician takes responsibility for this publication.”
          Ownership is claimed by the Scottish government, which is predominantly SNP members. Each Member is partly responsible for the parliament’s actions and publications. Those who voted for different candidates can certainly claim that their MSP and GERS do not represent their view but not SNP members

          • It is serious issue that you don’t seem to understand the division of “party of Government” and “The Scottish Government” – GERS is compiled by the Government regardless of who is in charge and the base data comes from the Treasury in London these are facts. Using the data supplied to them the civil servants in Scotland compile the GERS figures using accounting rules laid down by / agreed with the Treasury for all regional accounts, North of England, Wales etc etc – it therefor includes a population share of costs of running the UK of which many would not apply in an independent Scotland. It is a useful publication more accurate on revenues than costs in that sense but it is not the cost base staring point for an independent Scotland.

        • By all means have full control over policy and economic levers if you think doing so is part of the solution. Then watch as the resultant over-taxed individuals and companies exit. It strikes me the SNP blame everyone for Scotland’s ills – even those that subsidise them – and ignore the real issues. Yes, the figures show that Scotland does indeed have a problem.

          • “even those that subsidise them” – how degrading.

            Tell us, would you be one of the “over-taxed individuals” making for the exit?

      • Most GERs figures aren’t ‘produced’ by the SNP or the Scottish government, most of the figures are supplied by Westminster on a total UK costing divided by 8.5% then transferred to Scotland as their share of the cost. Do you get it yet?

  • We are living in Scotland not Cloud-Cuckoo land. Cherry picking countries such as Iceland and Ireland were favourites of Alex Salmond and where are they now? Iceland collapsed financial with their banks failing to honour savings (some held by Scottish Councils), Ireland suffered a catastrophic collapse in house prices and incomes by as much as 30%.
    The article above is full of rhetoric but is in denial of what the people of Scotland actually voted for firstly in a referendum in 2014 and secondly in parliamentary elections in 2016. The majority wish to remain in partnership with our geographical and cultural neighbours as part of the UK and secondarily to have a government that manages the resources available to the benefit of our population.. The sooner Sturgeon applies herself to the latter the better our country will become. We want good job prospects, good health service management, good school results anon potholes. The last thing that would benefit Scotland is to pay for self-important Scottish big-wigs in Europe being a drain on the tax-payer.

    • Try updating your Daily Mail information, we all know GERS figures are guff please refer to the originator , ‘ Westminster ‘ who always tell the truth, also GERS was a Tory wet dream construction courtesy of Ian Lang .
      Maybe you would feel more at home on the Scotsmans comments page where you belong byee

    • Get over to Ireland and Iceland, talk to the people. The GDP per head is mutch greater than the UK. They also jailed some of their bankers.

    • You talk about cherry picking and then you mention election results you think back up your own assertions on what Scotland wants whilst ignoring the facts behind those results plus completely ignoring Scotland’s vote in the EU referendum.
      There are a whole host of underhanded reasons for the no vote in 2014. Name one promise made by Better Together that has been fulfilled in full.
      You mention the general election as if that result was a sign of support for Scotland’s continuation in the UK? You should probably take another look at those results and try to put them in proper perspective. Scotland has the most proportionally representative voting system in the northern hemisphere and under that system the SNP still has the largest vote percentage of any government in Europe, couple that with the pro-independence Green party and you have a majority parliamentary share in favour of independence.
      You call the Union a partnership yet our entire nation gets out voted by a couple of English counties every time there is a UK wide vote. That is not a partnership of nations; it is assimilation of a smaller nation by the larger. No one ever signed up for that.
      You started with highlighting the negative impacts the global financial downturn had on your chosen small countries yet you don’t acknowledge the fact that both these countries have already bounced back faster and stronger than the UK who had suffered more due to our Tory designed reliance on the London centralised financial market. You do recognise the fact that the UK are still running a deficit and have one of the largest national debts as a percentage of GDP in the whole of the developed world.
      I’d say your comment is strong evidence that some Scots are defiantly remaining in Cloud-Cuckoo land.

      • And you fail to accept the result of the independence referendum and fail to see that your ” view” can apply to many geographical areas of the uk who voted for or against leaving the EU. Figures are there to be used and abused by either side of the argument and to bicker and argue about it seems to be a waste of effort when that same effort could be put into helping your own local community. What ever happens, whoever gets voted in, there will always be a large portion of the country who does not support them or it and instead of trying to improve your own local situation by playing within the government , we waste so much passion on fighting within ourselves. It’s like kids in a playground at times and thoroughly embarrassing.

    • ‘The last thing that would benefit Scotland is to pay for self-important Scottish big-wigs in Europe being a drain on the tax-payer’. But it’s OK to have UK big-wigs in Westminster and Europe!!!!!!! Double standards mate. Wake up and smell the London bulls**t.

    • “We want good job prospects, good health service management, good school results anon potholes.”

      Not going to happen whilst we’re part of the UK in its current form.

      Thanks to the UK BREXIT will take Scotland out of the EU against Scottish voters’ will, leading to major economic damage to UK and Scottish trade – 10 years or more negotiating new trade deals with all of those countries. Inevitably this means mor and more cutbacks, budget cuts, and even more austerity. And expecting BREXIT ot eb easy, quick and liberating is pie-in-the-sky . .

      “For years the Europhobes told us that the world would be queuing up to sign trade deals with Britain once we were out of Europe. Now Fox is discovering that it is illegal under World Trade Organisation rules to start negotiations with the UK as the EU has sole and exclusive responsibility for speaking for its member states on major trade matters.

      Of course countries can negotiate small market openings. Spain has spent eight years negotiating a deal to export plums to China. The UK has spent just as long trying to get India to lift its 150 per cent tariff on Scotch whisky – so far, without success. The Indians are willing to let Scotch be imported duty-free but in exchange they want visa-free access for Indians to come to the UK. Over to Dr Fox to solve that conundrum.”
      Denis McShane, former UK Minister for Europe

      As to the NHS, Westminster holds Scotland’s purse-strings: Scotland’s budget is directly linked to spending in England, so as Englands health service funding is cut and more and more of it is privatised, Scotland’s budget is being cut even more than the £Bns it’s already lost.

      NHS Scotland currently has its highest approval ratings ever, despite cutbacks from Westminster, but as the UK economy shrinks due to BREXIT and May’s austerity2 kicks in, the budget we have to spend on the NHS and education is going to be cut even more.

      Look around you. What makes Scotland so special that ‘cherry-picked’ small countries are doing so much better than us? Either you accept it’s down to the mess the UK is making of our economy, or you simply believe that Scot’s are unique in the world in being he only group of people unable to run their own country.

    • Suggest you look at how Iceland and Ireland have recovered from the banking crisis while the UK is still stumbling along with a massive debt which according to Hammond is costing the UL £50 billion a year on interest payments.. There is questions also to ask about exports which are landed outside the geographical are of the UK and which have risen substantially in recent years. Oil for example can be transferred to Rotterdam for refining without coming near the UK. Scotland does get its population share but what if the the major exports in this category is oil from the North Sea is that not a way of syphoning Scottish exports into the UK figures ?’

    • ~1.1% of my tax goes on the EU.
      ~5% goes on servicing the national debt.

      If Scotland votes for independence then our share of the debt is up for negotiation. I know which I’d rather pay for.

    • Sorry, I don’t understand your logic or your alternative facts that bear no reality to real facts. The SNP gained more votes than Labour and Tories combined both in first past the post and Second vote. If they had used the Westminster voting form the SNP would be sitting with 105 seats in Holyrood and they stood on a platform of Independence. Under Thatcher, they would not have needed to have a referendum but would have just become independent as they also send 56 SNP members to Westminster out of 59 so who has spoken. I won’t comment on the farce that was 2014 referendum enough independent authorities have already done that. You seem to have a lot of wants yet are in love with a union that has done none of that. It seems you would rather support a government that believes in Euthanasia for the poor and disabled through poverty. I hope that if you believe the SNP are doing a bad job you won’t drive on any of the new motorways, the toll-free bridges, and be happy to donate the money for any prescriptions you get based on the price in England and any other benefits you get from living in Scotland. Well, sounds like you are also a brexiteer which proves you have no grasp of economics and voted for something you know nothing about, as even the government in Westminster does not have a clue what it means and are running about like helpless chickens. Inflation’s on the rise, companies are preparing to move to EU zones, I hope you have paid off your mortgage as when brexit really hits interest rates will rise fast resulting in millions losing their homes, all thanks to people like you. One last thing I think you should know, the people that are not doing their day jobs and are constantly talking about independence are the Conservatives and Labour there is not a second of every day they don’t mention it. Even their councilors are banging on about it in council elections that have no bearing on independence, so perhaps you should get your parties to concentrate on helping to make Scotland a better country rather than constantly putting party before country.

  • The comparison with Norway and its oil fund is inept because Norway always have had far more oil per capita, and more easily exploitable. Scottish educational attainment has been sadly falling due to the relatively rigid comprehensive system and the dominance of the teaching unions, which protects underperforming teachers.

    As with the notorious White Paper, this article is long on rhetoric and highly selective on statistics. GERS cannot be dismissed and the Scottush situation is actually even worse in relative terms. That’s because we are overweight on PFI/PPP, public sector pensions, renewables subsidies and transport bungs, much of which is or has until recently been off balance sheet.

    So if we have another referendum the SNP will be smashed if they try to argue economics. They should stick to atavistic emotional arguments which so obviously appeal to the nationalist mindset. That’s why they get the votes…,

    • Oh give it a rest if you believe anything Westminster produces you are as brainless as your devoid of truth post , the Scotsmans comment section is where you belong

    • Norway were more sensible about exploiting the oil Peter Smaill. By retaining interest in the oil producer (Statoil) and by higher tax to put in a fund ( now some 800 BILLION dollars ) they have planned for a future. We in the UK funded the Thatcher drive to privatisation 🙁
      From each governments figures it can be seen that Norway COLLECTED 3 times more into the central government coffers than the UK did. So while you are right to point out the per-capita difference, that makes ZERO difference to the potential that COULD have been collected AND the benefit of an oil fund.
      See http://www.resourcegovernance.org/sites/default/files/blog_figure2_20151005.jpg
      That oil fund is now being used to create centres of excellence in Norway on science and health research and development.

  • There are no English solutions to Scottish problems.
    In fact!
    Scottish problems are caused by English solutions.

    • The SNP has run Scotland for the last nine years. But don’t let a few facts spoil a good whinge

      • will Stevens …. run but within the rules and permission of Westminster. So kind of like saying your car was built and run by you because you get to drive it each day 🙂 No .. Ford/VW/Vauxhall/NIssan etc are responsible for the good and bad of the car, you are only responsible for the way you get to drive it.

  • It is a great description of our situation within the UK.I doubt if it can be heard by those who do not want to hear it, and that is the problem.But we have to try and get this country out of the union that is Bleeding us dry,

  • Another brilliant article from Gordon McIntyre Kemp, the question is how do we get this message across to the voters, especially the 55% NO faction?

    Our abilities to make good quality ‘programs’, currently shown on YouTube could see Gordon give a distilled version of this article on DVD which could be distributed as an ‘advert’ in Sunday Supplements for example and/or Daily Newspapers.

    Light on statistics and heavy on photographic or video evidence, who knows, it might even make the MSM. DVDs are relatively cheap to produce these days and of course they would also be available on every street stall throughout the Nation from now till Indy2.

    • So can I ask why ? How has this happened? Without looking at other countries but looking at ourselves, explain the deficit?

    • The economic policy of the UK is 90% set at Westminster – London “is a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country”,

      • Had a look at the current GERS figures and didn’t see any for Public Sector Debt Interest. Can no one even make a rough estimate of the “unknowns” that are siphoned off by London?

  • Westmonster must be relieved of this massive burden ( SCOTLAND) let us try it on our own ffs

  • GERS was created by John Major to deliberately skew the statistics.

    It was a political exercise in obsfucation.

    Cynical, deliberately deceitful, the Tories are quite proud of the resulting (and continuing) confusion because it suits their political story.

    What the GERS stats don’t do is tell you, in any meaningful way, how the Scottish Economy would operate if it was run by an Independent Scotland.

    Why?….because all the unreasonable assumptions built into the analysis would be stripped out, stuff like allocating 8.3% of all the infrastructure in England, (cross rail etc) to Scotland’s debt.

    GERS is a fabrication, a set of untruths, a pose of past their best pansies being passed off as bright red roses on Valentines Day.

    Fall not for their cries of Better Together.

    The want to hang onto us because we have things the want.

    They covet our Uisge-beatha, (and the ordinary stuff), oil, fishing, gaming (GTA et al), life sciences, university sector, tourism and, in the near future, our surplus in electricity.

    So they don’t love us for our bubbling personality, our joie de vivre, our love of Europe.

    Nope, they only like us because they want our money!

    You Yes2 yet?

    • Very well covered John.
      I tend to read these reports for myself rather than reading the convenient headlines. Because as you mention, its very easy to change classification to fit agenda (aka Cross Rail, HS2, wars).

      And I have pointed out many times, that Osborn openly admitted that by a slight of hand,,, a reclassification, wipes a massive amount of people off the unemployment figures simply by putting them through the costly scheme that is workfare.

      The same trick was pulled by Thatcher, as the unemployed once upon a time was anybody not registered as working with the HMRC. Then it became only people claiming welfare. Then they cut that again with work-ability and workfare.

    • Eh John I believe Ian Lang was the author in the Thatcher Government of the time ,to try and Spike Independence, When half the country believe this guff he did pretty well with his propaganda. He deserves a knighthood, oops oh he has one silly me .

    • Page 87 of the SNP White Paper

      “This chapter sets out Scotland’s public finances and demonstrates that Scotland has the financial foundations to be a successful independent country. It also provides an overview of the financial position that the Scottish Government expects an independent Scotland to inherit and this Government’s early priorities for public spending and revenue. The starting point for this analysis is the National Statistics publication, Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS). GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances.”

      If GERS is such a fabrication why base your whole economic case on it?

    • John,

      “GERS is a fabrication, a set of untruths, a pose of past their best pansies being passed off as bright red roses on Valentines Day.”

      Are you really suggesting that the SNP are deliberately misleading us?

      • Your missing the point Craig, GERS is the only economic figures available for the SNP to base there white paper on. There incomplete and mostly guess work by Scottish civil servants because Westminster is economical with the true figures, its rubbish. GERS was created by John Major and IAIN LANG to deliberately skew the statistics Ian Lang admitted so.
        It was a political exercise in obfuscation. It is compiled in Edinburgh by civil servants with figures given to them by Westminster, these figures are incorrect and misleading and lots of information is missing. As Gordon quite eloquently put across earlier. Where not making this up its a propaganda tool, Ian Lang has admitted it.

        Its Cynical, deliberately deceitful, the Tories are quite proud of the resulting (and continuing) confusion it causes because it suits their political agenda.

  • They concentrate on the current deficit yet we increased uk national debt by £1Tr to bail out the London ponzi scheme and then kick start the whole bloody thing again.

    Little wonder then that london and SE have the lowest deficit. They are Recipients of big gov.

  • Excellent article, but I think that, in the age of information and social media, there can be no excuse next time if we don’t take the opportunity of independence. Put simply, if Scotland chokes twice, then we deserve all that we get.

  • Surely the question to be posed to the SNP is, if you had full control of those ecomomic ‘levers’, what would you do differently and how much better would things be? There’s an embarrassing vacuum on this subject which is probably grounded in the fact that the SNP, like most ‘left’ leaning political parties don’t favour business nor have any expertise in growing the economy. I’m the abscence of a REAL fiscal alternative the only solutions are more cuts or less spending and the SNP won’t even address that.

    • I see where you are coming from BfS looks to engage with SNP Government and improve their performance in this area.

      • The other thing to remember in that question is, the questioner is confusing being independent as opposed to who is governing in an independent Scotland. Independence will not only bring the decision making powers to Edinburgh, it will also completely change the political make up and landscape of politics in Scotland. Wealth creation is crucial to our success and by and large, we Scots are pretty good at that.

      • Gordon we have waited 2 years for this engagement! I am not blaming you or BFS I am blaming the SNP who seem to be totally blind to the need to act
        We should by now know our policy on currency
        Pensions
        Aour “potential” budget should we be in dependent
        If they are working on any of this then they are keeping it a big secret

      • Might also be worth grilling the other parties on what they would do, too, because it’s not a done deal that the SNP would necessarily win the first general election we have after Independence.

        It would certainly sort out which parties really do understand the current economic relationship between Westminster and Holyrood.

    • Well I’m not sure you can say a right wing conservative government in Westminster has been very successful? I think the days of left wing parties not understanding business is long gone I think the may have moved on a bit from being workers parties I’d go as far to say their are exceptional business minds who are socially minded, we’ve being living with more cuts and less spending I think it’s called austerity and we can certainly say that’s not working, it’s time to be brave and start investing in development and the reality is that is looking more likely to happen with a socialist SNP than from an unelected far right wing Prime Minister in a post brexit fascist state

  • Couldn’t find a Belgian, Dane, Swede or Norwegian so I asked a bloke from Iceland. He suggested I was talking ‘pish’…..I hear they are fond of that word in Iceland. Angus MacNeil will concur.

    • I was salmon fishing in Iceland a month ago and asked our two guides whether their republic of circa 330K folk – which had gained its independence from Denmark in 1944 and had jailed some hardened criminals (sorry, bankers)for a recent financial scandal- had any desire to step back into that fold. My wife heard the incredulous laughter back in Scotland, over 900 miles away!

  • While I agree with the general sentiments and comments in the above article, would you not also agree it is now urgent that the SNP publishes counter arguments as to what an independent Scotlands finances could look like – an “iGERS” if you like.
    Margaret Cuthbert has also made this point and as an independence supporter I’m surprised and confused at the weakness of the SNP response to the annual GERS publication.
    For example, highlight the savings an iScotland will have not paying for the UKs hugely expensive defence bill, for Trident, for Northern Ireland, the House of Lords etc etc. Time we went on the offensive!

    • Agree I think they are weak on many business and economic growth arguments – they need to show what an alternative Scotland would look like – who cases if unionists say they should focus on their day job most of the people don’t vote SNP for good devolved governance they see that as a bonus – creating a better Scotland through the powers of independence is the top priority.

    • One of the many benefits of giving a detailed breakdown will be the exposure of the hidden accounting at Westminster that assigns so much of our tax revenue to England rather than to Scotland. That will be an eye-opener for many.

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