Saturday, 22 February 2014

Why Scotland's Not Going Anywhere

The rhetoric for the case for and against Scottish independence is increasing as we draw closer to the vote on 18 September but it all seems academic to me as anything other than a vote  to stay in the Union will come as a surprise.
The overriding reason why i think we will be waking up on 19 September and finding the blue stripes still in the Union Flag is economic, leaving the UK will cost the Scots.
The Treasury has already stated that each Scot will face a £1000 tax rise if they vote for independence because at present, Scotland gets more out of the UK treasury then it puts in.
The basic facts are that Scotland adds 8.3% (£42bn) to the UK bank account but receives 9.2% (£59bn) of UK public spending.
To put a pound sign on it, Scottish Executive figures show that spending per capita in Scotland was £11,370 per head of population versus £10,320 for the rest of the UK, hence the £1000 shortfall that will have to be made up by the newly independent Scottish population to maintain the current level of spending.
On a personal level, i don't much care which way Scotland jumps but if they do go there own separate way, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be £17bn a year better off but i strongly expect the thought of a huge rise in tax and a sharp cut in public services will be a strong incentive to the Scottish population to stay with the UK for the foreseeable future.


Aaron said...

Your financial argument is consistent with what I've read, but don't the Scots contend that they would be entitled to a very large portion of North Sea oil royalties that would offset their higher public spending?

Lucy said...

That is the argument that the SNP are making Aaron but the line drawn in the 90s which separated the North sea into a Scottish & English section for fishing is also effective for the oilfields. That's the line the UK Government is using so Scotland will get only a handful of oilfields. The SNP are saying they want the line redrawn so it may well end up in the courts anyway.