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Wings Over Scotland


The case of the missing billions

Posted on July 27, 2014 by

Readers of this site may remember the story published on the BBC earlier this week, where the figures for GDP per capita miraculously switched overnight from showing Scotland as a net contributor to the UK to implying that Scotland was a net recipient.

bbcstats

And after reviewing the data posted by the BBC, it appears that the export figures have also been massaged to imply that Scotland exports vastly less than it does in reality.

The figures quoted are cited as coming from the Office for National Statistics, and claim that Scotland exports only £16.9 billion of goods and services. But does it?

Scotland’s exports are mainly based around:

  • Food and beverages
  • Chemicals
  • Business services
  • Electronics and instrument engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Textiles
  • Oil & gas
  • Fuel-based equipment
  • Renewable energies, equipment and technology

And our top export markets are:

  • rUK
  • USA
  • Netherlands
  • France
  • Germany

The Scottish Government already collates all the information relating to these exports and the Financial Times has already done all the legwork to analyse what it means.

Back in January of this year an article entitled “Scots exports would be worth almost £100bn after independence” set out the figures for Scottish exports based on the Scottish Government’s Global Connections Survey, and notes how an independent Scotland would be among the world’s top 35 biggest exporters.

“The estimate of Scotland’s 2012 exports lays out in stark terms the strength of Scotland’s economic ties with the UK. It shows that £47.6bn of a total £73.6bn in non-oil exports of goods and services, and almost half of its oil and gas exports, were to the rest of the UK.”

In fact in 2012, Scottish oil and gas exports alone came to over £24.4bn, with the rest of the export trade bringing the overall total to £98.1bn.

So how is it that the BBC is reporting Scotland’s economy as only exporting £16.9bn? The trick the BBC appears to have employed is to take the figures for Scottish exports to the rest of the world (that is, excluding the £58.3bn that’s sold to the rUK) and then to exclude ALL of the Scottish oil and gas exports too.

ftstats

(The feeble excuse offered is that oil and gas revenues have been excluded “as there is no agreement between Holyrood and Westminster on their allocation”. Effectively the BBC is suggesting that Scotland might get none of the oil and gas revenue at all.)

But even at that the BBC figures are still exceptionally low. The FT table shows that Scotland exports £39.8bn to the rest of the world, including oil and gas. Yet even without oil and gas in those “International” figures, Scotland’s global exports (as detailed in the pie chart on the right) total a respectable £25.9bn. That’s a hefty £9bn (or 53%) higher than the figures cited by the BBC.

We can feel your eyes glazing over from here, so let’s boil it down:

Actual Scottish exports: £98.1bn
Scottish exports excluding oil and gas: £73.6bn
All Scottish exports excluding the rUK: £39.8bn
Scottish exports excluding both the rUK AND oil and gas: £25.9bn
Figure quoted by BBC for “Scottish exports”: £16.9bn

Super-alert readers will have noticed that the numbers still don’t quite add up for the explanation, so we had a dig around, and the only £16.9bn figure we could find came from a table in the 2013 ONS report Official statistics in the context of the referendum on Scottish independence – except that for some reason the BBC has chosen to use the 2010 stats rather than the more recent (and 8% higher) ones for 2012.

ons2010

Those figures are for the highly selective “manufactured exports” category, which means that they exclude all manner of services as well as oil and gas.

What the BBC has done here isn’t just careless, it’s deceptive. In order to gauge the reality of Scotland’s finances you clearly need to look at exports as if the country was already independent, in which case the rest of the UK would be an export market as well, radically shifting the balance. And obviously you need to include ALL of Scotland’s exports, not just an arbitrary selection of them.

Readers may feel that the state broadcaster – in using outdated figures and assuming an independent Scotland would end all trade with the rest of the UK and have no oil or gas revenues – has somewhat overstepped the bounds of impartiality. On the basis of the evidence it would be difficult to construct a case for the defence.

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  1. 27 07 14 21:32

    The case of the missing billions | Scottish Independence News

  2. 28 07 14 01:28

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134 to “The case of the missing billions”

  1. M4rkyboy says:

    The thing with the figures being bandied around is that most of them are just derivatives of our proportional spend within the UK and assume we will just replicate the tax and spend of the UK in an indy Scotland.

  2. RogueCoder says:

    Another fine deconstruction of the BBC’s rampant bias, Rev. Surely we can make a formal complaint with this?

  3. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @ Scott

    “Those figures are for the highly selective “manufactured exports” category, which means that they exclude all manner of services as well as oil and gas.

    What would be the effect of using that calculation standard for the City and then the SE of England?

    I would hazard a guess that these two über performing motors of the UK would be outclassed by the manufacturing GDP of the SE of England’s cider industry.

    Completely useless and meaningless statistics from Naw. Who’d’ve thunk it?

  4. Mary Bruce says:

    A spokesperson for BBC Scotland said: “In terms of BBC Scotland’s reporting of the referendum, our journalism is fair and impartial and in line with our editorial guidelines.”

    Naw it’s no, BBC, yous are a bunch of liars and this proves it.

  5. adrian Brown says:

    Excuse my muddled brain here. I might have this wrong, but do these export figures allow for the fact that much of Scotland’s exports are classed as English on the basis of port of exit from the UK? …. Or are often recorded as English on the basis of HQ’s of manufacturers being based in England (and where the stats returns are made from to HMRC)?

  6. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    adrian Brown

    Right on the nose as well.

  7. a2 says:

    You don’t need a case for the defence when you are both Judge and Jury.

  8. IcySpark says:

    Hmmm.

    Just noticed that the BBC have removed the comparison and images for GDP, from the previous story, though still have the figure of £117.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28192293

  9. Marian says:

    There’s a very interesting piece by Sainscot on Westminster’s Psychological Warfare on Scotland which I suggest everyone should read

    http://sainscot.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/westminsters-psychological-warfare-on-scotland/

    Once you have read it you will understand exactly what the unionists are up to.

  10. Lesley-Anne says:

    Well what do you know we’re too wee, too poor and too stupid cause we cannae produce anything, we cannae sell anything and we have NO resources to mine and sell. Well that is the idea that BBC want to project to the world about the abilities of the people of Scotland! Boy are they in for one hell of a shock come the great day! 😀

  11. Croompenstein says:

    As Jock Scot says ‘All We Hear Is BBC Blah Blah’

  12. thewaterbeastie says:

    Yeeeaaah…this is kind of why I went to Pacific Quay today.

    [and great to meet Tam and Wilma amongst all the other WoSers there…!]

    Good job, Stu.

  13. Murray McCallum says:

    Good work Scott tracking that down.

    If the BBC are trying to inform readers of Scotland’s economic activity, contribution or potential then they are clearly failing on all accounts.

  14. gillie says:

    You can’t trust the BBC.

  15. Peter Macbeastie says:

    None of this surprises me, but it’s always handy to see it laid out in nice, unarguable, black and white.

    The BBC are lying to us. It really doesn’t get simpler than that. And what is really, really galling about that is they just flatly say ‘no we’re not’ and that’s the end of it so far as they are concerned.

    Their manipulation of data and outright falsification of figures justifies absolutely every criticism levelled at them for bias.

  16. AyeAlba says:

    @marian

    Thanks for that link. It explains the tactics exactly.

  17. Lesley-Anne says:

    Oops, looks like Osborne and his bested mates have been found out moving money for housebuilding schemes in the North of England has been *ahem* transferred to the South.

    https://archive.today/uaspW

  18. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I am looking forward to the day, soon after the Yes vote, when the BBC will be sent homewards to think again about how their blatant lying cost the No side the referendum.

    Hell mend them.

  19. awayanbileyerheed says:

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again. As soon as we hit August WE ARE GOING INTO WAR. Westminster and its Intelligence agencies will deploy all their arsenal. BE PREPARED..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CS4Z5fjX4k&list=UUY_5bCx8Yvo-ddJjUHhHUWw

    This month is simply “The deep breath before the Plunge”

  20. Croompenstein says:

    OT but have spotted a butchers apron with GB written on it in Tollcross at the swimming I imagine the police will have a stern word and tell them not to wave it or be escorted out.

    Congrats to the wee lassie from Shetland 13 years old and a bronze for Scotland. Go Team Scotland

  21. Grouse Beater says:

    Excellent financial analysis, Stuart.

    What you illustrate is the kind of propaganda the BBC were happy to compose and disseminate during WWII, aided by an employee called George Orwell.

    It’s said Orwell got his idea for his Ministry of Truth, the employer of his anti-hero, Winston Smith, the sharp experience issuing from Orwell’s time at the BBC for his ground breaking visionary novel, ‘1984.’

    The sad thing about the BBC doing its master’s work here in Scotland is the many inside it who support Scotland’s renaissance, who disagree with the unsavoury control exercised by their senior colleagues. They are trapped.

    The most pitiful aspect of all is the pantomime is presided over by a compliant Gaelic speaker, a pair of ‘safe hands,’ as his paymasters are apt to say.

    We can change all that for the better on the 18th of September.

    Take hold of the opposition’s flag and use it to our eternal benefit:

    Better together means one thing only – we vote Yes!

  22. Free Scotland says:

    This one’s a must for the print button.

  23. Cindie says:

    @Marian, @Flooplepoop, thanks for that link. Fascinating. I do think that the SNP and the wider Yes campaign are probably aware of these tactics. It certainly explains why they are so moderate they are in their language for example. Also explains the emphasis on grass routes campaigning. Also very relevent for this article

  24. Murray McCallum says:

    If the BBC are going to drill down and be selective about export figures how long will we have to wait before we see a BBC bar chart comparing Nissan/Toyota cars, Stilton cheese, Gordon’s gin, etc exports?

    Is it too much to wonder if there is anyone remotely interested at BBC Scotland who is questioning the analysis their employer is pushing out?

  25. R-type Grunt says:

    I’ve absolutely no argument with the content but I have to say, this is outstanding journalism. I wonder how Lamont, Curran, Sarwar, Murphy, Davidson et al feel when they read this. To say nothing of how your ‘fellow’ journalists must feel. Because they all read it. They’re reading it now. Can you all sleep at night?

    Vote Aye.

  26. wee e says:

    Excellent, Scott. I feel like emailing the bbc sometimes to give them a heads-up about the 21st century.

    Dear BBCVoteNo
    As you know, you broadcastt news and entertainment and stuff, and the rest of us get it. If you broadcast dishonest stuff — too bad, we don’t have transmitters to refute it!

    The internet isn’t like that.

    For instance, the BBC has a website AND SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE THAT WANTS ONE. They also have facebook and twitter and all sorts of stuff.

    So when you publish naughty dishonest stuff on your website, anyone who catches you at it can show on other websites the whole world exactly how you’ve been dishonest. Anyone can then send that gotcha! anywhere in the world.

    Just so you know.
    Regards, wee e

    PS Nowadays the plebs can even show up what you broadcast; and it stays on the internet forever.

  27. mdmaok says:

    Our eyes never “glaze over” Stu. We come here for the numbers. Good work.

  28. Lesley-Anne says:

    I agree Croomps congratulations to the Shetland lassie and also to Millie Smiley who also got a Bronze. As far as the Butcher’s Apron and the word GB on it then anything less than a stern warning from the police about raising such flags must surely result in a flurry of complaints. Have to admit firing an e-mail off to Games committee over Butcher’s Apron on English cyclists helmets! 😀

  29. Dr Ew says:

    I just can’t understand how the FT got it so wrong!!!

  30. galamcennalath says:

    Well presented, Stu. While there is some debate about words spoken live in broadcasts, here, the BtBC have committed their propaganda to writing. The crime cannot be denied. Guilty as charged, M’Lord.

  31. Ken Johnston says:

    Are we to assume that the BBC did this work all on their own, Peston perhaps, or more likely coming from a deeper source.

  32. tiderium says:

    Just saw Chris hoy back-pedalling (pun intended) talking about the 2 proposals in the veledrome, and he actually said it was 2 yesses, erm 2 acceptances, however the ozzy swimmer with him and Gary lineker didn’t care and said it’s a guaranteed yes in the veledrome. awkwardness ensues in the studio. brilliant

  33. macart763m says:

    Oh that’s got briefing written all over it.

    Some policy wonk will obviously have clocked the original. A few rapid, terse phone calls and some creative arithmetic later, hey presto – Scotland’s a subsidised basket case.

    FFS rinse and repeat.

  34. Cactus says:

    Nicely put Scott Minto. Scotland’s already resource rich.. only problem is that a lot of our money is going into the wrong bank account. It’s a fun day everyday in Westminster.

  35. Lesley-Anne says:

    I think this tweet gives the ultimate response to anyone living in and around Aberdeen to any question about why they are voting YES. Short, succinct and straight to the point. I reckon anyone living in and around Glasgow can quite easily swap the oil rigs for Trident subs. 😉

    http://tinyurl.com/o5jy2k3

  36. Edward says:

    Good work by Stuart
    As he has highlighted, post independence, goods sold to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are not currently termed as an Export, will become an Export

    It should be noted that the trade balance for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will get worse as goods currently sent from Scotland will effectively become an import.

    Further note that currently two thirds of Oil is exported from the UK and a third sent to England. This will continue of course. But that two thirds that is treated as a ‘UK’ export will become a Scottish Export along with the on third sent to England. That third Oil will also effectively become an import (in terms of balance of trade) for England and England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also loose that two third Oil export, so further degradation of the balance of trade for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    There is the HMRC Regional Trade Stats (https://www.uktradeinfo.com/statistics/rts/pages/default.aspx) which shows each regions export data. Of course is completely skewed as it does not reflect where goods originate, but where the goods are exported from.

    As Westminster has, over the years deliberately encouraged and developed ports and airports in England, especially in the South East. So as you can see most exports from the whole of the UK are shipped through English ports and airports (especially the South East). But after independence I expect to be a dramatic change as exports from Scotland will be excluded from that data (in the same way that the Belgium’s cannot include exports from other EU countries, including the UK that are transhipped through the port of Antwerp).

    As more direct air services are developed from Scottish Airports and ports, the need to tranship via English Ports and Airports will effectively reduce. Interestingly with an increase in the available direct air and sea services from Scotland will attract business from the English North East and North West as well as Northern Ireland

  37. Brian Mchugh says:

    That is about 3 or 4 times tonight, the cameraman has zoomed in for a close up to the same union flag at the swimming… it has initials on it also, which i cannot tell are political, but could be… so why are the cameraman and security clearly treating this diametrically opposite to a YES flag?

  38. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Edward

    Am I right in thinking that your post is based on a shared £ stg?

    If it is a Scots Pound S£, shadowing the £stg, surely exports to the £stg nations will be exports, albeit at parity?

  39. Edward says:

    Just a note on Prestwick
    Post independence, Prestwick will be in a very good position, not only for developing it as an international air cargo hub. It will be able to attract aircraft maintenance engineering providers, its ideal with its long runway and all year weather conditions

    The additional aspect is that Prestwick is also ideally located to become a helicopter base for the oil industry that will surely develop at any position on Scotland’s western seaboard

  40. Geoff Huijer says:

    Scott – that is just fantastic work!

    I knew they were lying (because that’s what the BBC does).

    Now, with this information you have provided I can prove it!

    Wings really does just show them up on everything to be nothing more than a Westminster State propaganda machine.

    Impartial ma erse.

  41. westie7 says:

    @Tiderium

    Saw that too (comment on Non political games thread)
    Ian Thorpe gave Hoy a cracker of a look and some eybrows
    Bet the producers were doing hoops!

  42. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Edward

    Re the second part of your post, if high added value goods are sent via Heathrow, if we are in a £stg CU, then they could still be designated as exports, That is to say shipped via a rUK export port, just as say the Germans ship via Rotterdam or the Danes vis Hamburg?

    If, however they are bought by a rUK, company and then exported on, I can the point being that they were exported from rUK. But, if there was no added value, then surely they are exports via the UK?

    If we do not have a formal currency union I suppose, so long as the goods are exported without a definitive purchase by a rUK entity it would be an export via rUK, like Rotterdam above. If incorporated into some added value product, like a n electrical motor built into a washing machine which itself is exported a % of that export value should be attributed to Scotland, for statistical purposes anyway.

    Of course it is late at night and I might be typing bollox, which is always more probable than not.

    🙂

  43. Les Wilson says:

    Yup, BBC caught in their own trap, well done ( again!) Stu.
    Of course, we would have even more to be added if someone could compile how much of OUR exports are dispatched fro English ports, so go under the English GDP.The BBC need to be brought to task.

    Then there is all the English based companies here, VAT incurred here would go to the Scottish exchequer, and there would be a lot of money involved.They would put a big add to the Scottish bottom line. There are so many ways they screw us, they have everything covered for their benefit over very many years. They live on it like subsidy junkies, yea, that’s for real.

  44. col says:

    All of my family and friends know what the BBC are up to now, even a no voter friend originally from the north of England has recently said to me they are completely biased in favour of a no vote. It is that obvious! Was at the demo today. Best one yet i think. Shame we couldn’t get close to the building because of all the stuff on around the building but i bet they let out a few breaths of relief. Lets make the next one a BIGGY . In the meantime we have to get the message out that the media are nothing but establishment tools to spread their lies, smears and fears. Their threats should also turn many towards the YES side. Oh and then there’s the case of hijacking our games. Who needs enemies when you have the Brit nats as friends?

  45. Grouse Beater says:

    macart763m says: Oh that’s got briefing written all over it

    You can bet on it.

    BBC Man: But aren’t those figures misleading?
    Gov Official: It’s a partial reading.
    BBC Man: ‘Partial?’
    Gov Official: All Joe Public wants is an ‘impression.’
    BBC MAN: I see
    Gov Official: One they don’t have to think about.
    BBC Man: Yes.
    Gov Official: They only need assimilate the headline figure.
    BBC MAN: And its still truth, just partial.
    Gov Official: By the way, PM says he’s very happy with your progress.
    BBC Man: Me?
    Gov Official: Promotion material, he said.
    BBC Man: Really? Does he think so?
    Gov Official: You can count on it.
    BBC Man: As long as no one else out there can count – eh?

  46. Midgehunter says:

    To be fair, this is a great source of information for grassroots work and comes from the pen (keebord) of:

    Scott Minto (no the Rev…) 😉

  47. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    Les Wilson

    Beware of treating VAT as a simple tax. It is an input and output tax, where the residual added value is the tax.

    Sj=hipping to rUK in £stg, if the goods are consumed in the rUK would be just as it is today.

    However if the rUK and iScotland have different currencies albeit at par, there would be no VAT element charged into the rUK.

    Where is handclapping when you need him.

    Probably breeding mosquitos?

  48. Krackerman says:

    Anyone know how much we import from England on comparison to how much we export to them?

    Curious to see how Independence might impact the rUK balance of payments 🙂

  49. MochaChoca says:

    From the updated BBC “How would the UK fare without Scotland?” page:

    “oil revenues are not included as there is no agreement between Scotland and Westminster”

    This renders any and all calculation about Scotland and rUK economies meaningless, so why even try?

    Does any other analysis use this get-out clause?

    Of course the exact same argument could be used for every other aspect of the debate.Pretty much everything is up in the air as the UK government have refused to ‘pre-negotiate’

  50. Edward says:

    Bugger the Panda

    If goods are bought by a rUK company and then exported on, its still an export from Scotland into
    The rUK, regardless of what the rUK does with the goods

    It really doesn’t matter what the company in the rUK does with the goods, including incorporating into a larger unit, such as an electric motor into a washing machine. That is of no concern to the Scotland, the initial goods sent from Scotland is still an export.

    Example. If Some one in the UK sends an pallet of motors to Italy to a company that makes washing machines. The export is the pallet of motors, not the washing machines the Italians sell to the US

  51. Les Wilson says:

    Bugger (the Panda) says:

    When I said about the VAT, I was thinking of companies who sell goods here, think ALL the major supermarket chains for a start. B&Q etc etc etc.
    The VAT taken here would be accountable to er, here.
    There will obviously be many companies I have not even thought of, but basically if the charge it here it is accountable here.

  52. Edward says:

    Bugger the Panda
    Re your VAT comment
    To Clarify, currently selling goods to someone in Leeds or Manchester, you add VAT (20%) to the sales invoice and account for VAT.
    If you sell goods to someone in Frankfurt or Paris, you do not add VAT as VAT is accounted for locally within each EU VAT regime, by adding the German or French buyers VAT number. You account for VAT in your intra-stats with details of buyers VAT processed through to the buyers local VAT office and the buyer pays at local VAT rate.

    Post independence , Scotland will itself become its own VAT region. So selling to a buyer in Leeds or Manchester will be exactly the same as the action when your selling to some one in Frankfurt or Paris.

    Likewise as there are no formal customs borders between UK and the rest of the EU, the same will apply between Scotland and rUK 😀

  53. MochaChoca says:

    From the same BBC article:

    “Without Scotland, the UK would move from being the 45th most populated country to the 29th

    So an already busy country would suddenly become much more crowded, statistically at least.”

    What country? Aren’t the BBC usually careful not to refer to the UK as a country? If the UK is a country, what are Scotland, England, NI and Wales?

  54. ScottieDog says:

    It’s really important to get this out and challenge the BBC on this.
    Isn’t anyone in YES demanding clarification of the BBC, or has that been done and fallen on deaf ears? – I’m probably being naive.

    I’m sick of hearing the ‘uk is the best growth economy in the G7’ mantra. what is really important here is to break this ‘growth’ down. The vast majority of it is the continued expansion of private credit – mostly into another housing bubble – basically unsustainable growth in debt – especially as salaries fall.

    This is why it’s so so important to emphasise the export potential in ‘tangibles’ that this country (scotland ) has.

  55. Clootie says:

    Don’t just get angry – make sure you tell people that the BBC act for the unionists. People still trust them so use this example to highlight the propaganda.

  56. Edward says:

    Les Wilson
    Correct, post independence, one of the first set ups will be Scotland’s version of Southend (UK’s controlling VAT office)
    All trade within Scotland that accounts for VAT will have to set up accounting offices to take care of VAT payments to the Scottish treasury

    All companies that are registered for VAT will have to be registered in Scotland. Existing Scottish based companies will just have their VAT number converted from the current ‘GB’ prefix to what ever the Scottish prefix is.

    Companies based outside Scotland, such as B&Q, Marks & Spenser, Tesco, Homebase etc, will open offices and apply for Scottish VAT registration (its going to be a rather busy 2 years till 2016!)

  57. Les Wilson says:

    Edward says:

    Yes Edward, it sure will be, AND very many jobs created.

  58. StevieMcB says:

    OT after news on radio 4,Are Cybernats degrading or adding to the debate?
    could be interesting, prob more bbc pish.

  59. MochaChoca says:

    Edward,

    “Post independence , Scotland will itself become its own VAT region. So selling to a buyer in Leeds or Manchester will be exactly the same as the action when your selling to some one in Frankfurt or Paris.”

    This raises an interesting point.

    There must be a good number of Scottish firm who happily trade in rUK, but may have not ventured to trade in other EU countries due to differences in VAT or regulations.

    Independence could be the nudge they need. If they have to adapt to deal with 2 regimes, they might just see it’s not that scary and be prepared to look toward another 20 odd potential markets.

    A look beyond the 64 million UK single market towards the 500 million EU single market could present massive scope for expansion in many instances.

  60. Krackerman says:

    Anyone know how much we import from England on comparison to how much we export to them?

    Curious to see how Independence might impact the rUK balance of payments 🙂

    Does anyone know…? I suspect there may be a truly horrific black hole in England’s balance of trade figures should Scotland get free of it… The kind of black hole that can sink a ship…..

    Or a country…

  61. iclare says:

    Scott I’m on to 3rd reading just taking a break to say ‘wow’. Why am I still surprised ?

  62. TJenny says:

    StevieMcB – The Rev tweeted earlier today ‘Interesting few minutes chatting about cybernats and the #indyref debate with Uncle Alan Cochrane for The Westminster Hour (Radio 4, 10pm.)’

    Listening to it just now and hoping to hear Stuey at the end v Cockers. 🙂

  63. FlimFlamMan says:

    @ Bugger (the Panda)

    …if high added value goods are sent via Heathrow, if we are in a £stg CU, then they could still be designated as exports, That is to say shipped via a rUK export port…

    They would definitely be exports, whatever the currency arrangements. Exports and imports are defined by the locations of production and sale, not the currencies used by the countries in question or the currency of the transaction, which might not be that of either the exporting or importing country.

    If, however they are bought by a rUK, company and then exported on, I can the point being that they were exported from rUK. But, if there was no added value, then surely they are exports via the UK?

    In this case they’d be exports on the Scottish balance sheet, and both imports and exports on the rUK balance sheet, for a net effect of zero for rUK.

    If we do not have a formal currency union I suppose, so long as the goods are exported without a definitive purchase by a rUK entity it would be an export via rUK, like Rotterdam above.

    Yes, but again this would be the case whether or not there’s a currency union.

    If incorporated into some added value product, like a n electrical motor built into a washing machine which itself is exported a % of that export value should be attributed to Scotland, for statistical purposes anyway.

    No need to attribute a percentage, since the full value of the motors will already show as Scottish exports. The motors would appear on Scotland’s balance sheet as exports, and on rUK’s balance sheet as imports. The completed washers would would appear on rUK’s balance sheet as exports.

  64. Flower of Scotland says:

    At the fantastic, inspiring , fun protest today at PQ I asked a policeman about Toilets. I was told to go to the Science centre tell them who I was and it would be fine. BBC had security and searched my bag which was fine, but as for the Yes saltire folded in my hand he said ” you’re no getting in with that on view. Put it in your bag! I replied” you mean to say I can’t hold my national flag in my own country? ” He said ” put it in the bag”!

  65. macart763m says:

    Grouse, I’d bet that’s almost word for word. 🙂

  66. Edward says:

    MochaChoca
    Actually I’m very surprised at companies that see the rest of the EU as a bridge too far.
    Shipping to Frankfurt is just as easy as shipping to Leeds

    Funnily enough its comments from pro unionists that come out with the ‘I don want to have rUK as a foreign country and don’t want loose the 60 million market, at which I stare skywards wondering how these companies survive.

    The EU maybe a mix of different VAT regimes with different VAT rates, but that does not come into it for the seller in Scotland as VAT is accounted locally (see above). As for regulations, most if not all are common across the EU, including Scotland 😉

  67. Kestral says:

    Stu

    They have finally admitted what changed the figures

    OIL REVENUES NOT INCLUDED

    bit dishonest to not show it as the least they could show is what the 90% figure of geographical oil will mean, since that is pretty much set in stone now

    maybe they could do one on our share of the UK ASSETS 🙂

  68. Roll_On_2014 says:

    OT

    It looks like ‘what goes around, comes around’. I wonder if the truth will out this time around.

    Police probing killing of SNP activist have interfered with my statement

    A retired police officer interviewed as part of a fresh probe into the death of SNP activist Willie McRae is demanding a public inquiry after discovering his evidence has been “doctored”.

    Former Strathclyde PC Donald Morrison, who? believes?the firebrand lawyer? was murdered by British intelligence in 1985, gave a 12-page witness statement?to detectives three years ago.? ?

    The 72-year-old, of Morayshire, repeatedly asked for a copy of his witness statement under Freedom of Information legislation and finally received a document earlier this month. However, he says it is a “substantially shorter, altered version” of the testimony he gave in 2011.

  69. FlimFlamMan says:

    @ Krackerman

    rUK’s external deficit will grow; certainly as a percentage of GDP, and probably in absolute terms. It depends on the way what is currently internal trade pans out. I tried finding reliable figures but gave up.

    It won’t be horrific or a hole though, any more than the UK’s decades old external deficit is, provided the rUK maintains currency sovereignty. That sovereignty is the reason the UK isn’t doing as badly as Spain, or Greece, or Portugal, or Italy, or France… and so on.

  70. Kestral says:

    Companies based outside Scotland, such as B&Q, Marks & Spenser, Tesco, Homebase etc, will open offices and apply for Scottish VAT registration

    Do they need to do that to sell in our country?

  71. james anderson says:

    Well done Scott Minto. This article remains on BBC News Scotland Politics. It’s assertions are, in fact, lies. That simplistic unqualified (save O&G ommission) pie chart does not even contain a definitive source nor year of production; yet the entry to the article refers to headline UK export figures for 2012. Yes – 2012. Let us be clear – you will not find a Scottish-related export figure of circa £16bn for 2012 ANYWHERE. You can write to the BBC News Scotland editor, the Ombudsman, and the BBC Trust. You can also email your MSP and MP and request, as a taxpayer via licence fee, that they approach the BBC on your behalf enquiring after the veracity, use, and presentation of statistics relating to Scotland’s economic performance and output. You might also wish to write to or email the Scottish Parliament (SPICE), the cross-party Enterprise Committee, and Scottish Enterprise (international division is responsible for Scottish export performance). If enough of us pursue this course of action it should push it onto the media politics agenda – an alert to our Scottish and Edinburgh based titles that this concerted and formal course of action is being pursued should at least encourage renewed interest. Not saying this will acheive BEEB impartiality but is enough to make life uncomfortable and are suggestions for those feeling frustrated and disempowered 😉

  72. Edward says:

    Kestrel
    Yes 🙂

  73. James Kay says:

    So an already busy country would suddenly become much more crowded, statistically at least.

    The original version of the article actually said: So an already busy island …

    When it was pointed out that the rUK is not/will not be an island, the word was changed to ‘country’. They really don’t know what they are talking about.

  74. StevieMcB says:

    Stu, Radio 4 now!

  75. Thepnr says:

    @Krackerman

    Regarding exports between rUK and an Indy Scotland, there were figures revealed during the currency union refusal. Scotland was a net importer from the rest of the UK excluding oil and gas and for example electricity.

    The figures were roughly Scotland exports £45B and Imports £65B. Not exact but close to those that were bandied about at the time of the discussion on transaction costs.

  76. Ken Johnston says:

    Anybody know the situation with generated energy. Until a couple of months ago, National Grid had energy flows detailed on a web-page. Observing it for a few weeks, at various times, Scottish generators were sending about 6000 mega-watts ? almost continuously south. N.English generators were sending energy south as well. As well as the continental inter-connectors sending about 1000 mw to the SE. A few hundred went to N.I.

    In an indie Scotland that would be an export, but I wonder what the position is now. Do the consumers get a special deal because it’s internal trade.

    Also, same thing applies to gas. It would be an export, but now?

    The page disappeared some weeks ago, but I assume things are unchanged.

  77. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Listening…Ooooh-er, snidey Cochers!!

  78. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Rev-

    Well done on the R4 gig.

    Cochrane sounded jaded, embittered, a tad desperate, and, ultimately, foolish.

  79. Kestral says:

    Edward

    does that mean the government will receive revenue that would normally have gone to the uk?

    heck, it’s looking better and better each day

    Can wait until my import taxes and duty go to my own government

    Most of them see to fly into England and then fly up here

    who would get the duty/vat in that event?

    🙂

  80. Morag says:

    Being discussed on the next thread, Ian….

  81. Lesley-Anne says:

    Ian Brotherhood says:

    Rev-

    Well done on the R4 gig.

    Cochrane sounded jaded, embittered, a tad desperate, and, ultimately, foolish.

    Up to his usual gutter floor best then Ian, Cochrane NOT Stu. 😀

  82. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Morag –

    Oh! Cheers.

  83. james anderson says:

    The key trick pulled here is to disaggregate manufactures (goods) and services. Consolidated exports are circa £25bn; stripping out services reduces to circa £16bn. There is no explanation for this other than to imply Scottish exports at 7% are lower than a pro rata population share….

  84. Les Wilson says:

    Anyone to report on anti BBC rally today?

  85. Morag says:

    Might be best to leave this thread for discussing Scott’s fantastic article. That is some quality basic research right there.

  86. Paul D says:

    Les Wilson says:
    27 July, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Anyone to report on anti BBC rally today?

    It is there but was bumped from the News Scotland main page after a couple of hours to the Glasgow and West section.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-28510069

  87. Defo says:

    Guilty as charged Scott.
    On this, and everything that challenges their power. Lets face it, Auntie has been running a politically correct (if you count the establishment as the agenda setters) eye over virtually everything it disseminates since it’s inception.
    Why ? £££ buys a lot of loyalty to the establishment that furnishes you with it, via the legally enforced tax they foisted on those they brainwash.
    Nice work too, if you can get it ! The intoxicating taste of real power for those collecting six, and seven figure salaries, has a strange effect on the individual, and corporate mindset.
    Herein lies the very nature of the BBC.

    Senior BBC management sit at the very same cosy metropolitan dinner tables, as the Met bloody police, Media moguls, war mongering politicians , Big Money & the creme de la creme of the old school crop, running the show from Whitehall.

    All those at the table, get off on exercising power, and being seen to.

    Orwell is referred to so often these days now, for the simple fact that the disgruntled, disillusioned ex-employee really hit the nail quite firmly on the head.

    He even got the Airstrip One bit right.

    Auntie is fighting for her life too remember. It’s what cornered animals do !

  88. Morag says:

    Aw, Defo, don’t say that. My heart goes out to a cornered animal fighting for its life. You don’t want me to feel sympathy towards the BBC and run over and snatch it from danger, do you?

  89. Edward says:

    Kestral
    Yes a future Scottish Government would receive all VAT that is generated in Scotland
    In addition all duties, excise, levy’s and VAT from imports into Scotland at Scottish ports and airports will go direct to the Scottish treasury.

    As for imports via English ports or airports, these will tranship under ‘local import control’
    This means that the goods arrive at a English port or airport as normal, then will be sent
    on per bonded truck for clearance in Scotland.

    Example goods that arrive Antwerp or Rotterdam, are then shipped to the UK for clearance and on delivery within the UK. Alternatively they can clear customs at first EU customs post, with Duty paid at point of import and VAT accounted at final destination.

    The most likely scenario is that goods from outside the EU arriving at English ports and airports will be transferred under bond to clear locally in Scotland.

    With the increase in direct flights into Scotland, the need to have goods arrive at English airports will reduce

  90. Defo says:

    Morag. Think of the creature as the thing that bursts out of John Hurts guts in Alien. If that helps.
    More like schaedenfreud, than sympathy.

  91. Robert Peffers says:

    Here’s a few of the often forgotten rip-offs.
    The Scottish Crown Estate profits have been lumped in with the English Crown Estates since, (from memory), the 1800s. All court fines in Scottish courts, (including on-the-spot-fines), go directly to the UK treasury, Driving Licenses, Road Tax, Passport fees, TV licences, Electricity Grid connection charges. Alcohol Duty, Road Fuel Duty, Betting Tax, Tobacco duty. Remember too the jobs associated with them are outwith Scotland.

  92. Morag says:

    I’m trying to think of a truly evil animal and failing. Even liver fluke aren’t consciously malicious. And they don’t fight when cornered either as far as I can tell. (I will pop them in a jar of formalin without turning a hair, though.)

  93. Tam Jardine says:

    Paul D

    Love the bit in the BBC report on the attendance at the demo.

    “Organisers said more than 1,200 people took part in the demonstration, although Police Scotland put the number at approximately 400.”

    Hmm – I expect the BBC were given the figure along with the methodology behind the 1200 figure ie EVERYTHING GETTING GIVEN A NUMBER so presume they are simply petulantly ignoring this in order to try and cast doubt. They put up the bullshit police figure also despite it having no basis in reality.

    They are fairly rattled by this team, and the standard line of drivel they keep regurgitating is simply wrong.

    Seems to be a big problem, not with figures – it is a complete lack of integrity.

  94. Morag says:

    I could wish the No-voting lady I spole to yesterday and persuaded to take an Aye Right leaflet was reading this. It’s so difficult to let go, and just hope people follow up rather than chuck the thing in the bin once you’re out of sight.

  95. G H Graham says:

    The UK is not working.

    Osborne was puffing Friday about the GDP having returned to pre-recession levels. Unfortunately, he failed to mention that the population of the UK is 5% larger now.

    So the GDP per head is still worse not better. That is a standard measure of productivity that every properly managed production unit uses to track performance. Osborne should know that because he folded towels once in a department store so should be familiar with the term.

    In fact UK productivity is rubbish. It’s been flat for at least 6 years & lower than the G7 average by an astonishing 21%.

    Source: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/feb/20/britain-productivity-gap-widens

    In simple terms, British people work 48hrs to produce the same output as the average G7 worker who does it in 40 hrs. That’s an extra day of work per person per week in Britain to produce the same stuff. That’s a shocking result. Compared to the US, Germany & France the gap is even worse; an eye watering 30%.

    The UK is not selling.

    The trade balance is just as gruesome. It has been positive only once & very briefly in 2011, over the last 16 years. But it’s even worse than that. The average balance of trade of the UK since 1955 has been negative to the tune of -£1.1 billion per month, every month for the last 59 years.

    Source: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/balance-of-trade

    This means that the UK imports more than it exports every month. And how does it replace all that currency it spent abroad? Easy. It just prints more of the stuff. But that has a tendency to make the money worth less over the long term.

    The UK is broke.
    Well, what a surprise. The pound has lost significant value against all the major dollar currencies & the Euro. You know, the Euro that “Flipper” Darling keeps warning us about.

    Meanwhile, Osborne’s debt mountain continues to rise, expected to breach 1.5 trillion by 2017/2018. Despite all the austerity, he borrows more & more money because UK spending still exceeds tax receipts.

    Source: http://tinyurl.com/m6aptvf

    By the time Osbornes 1st term is over, he will likely have borrowed £190bn more than planned. In summary then, the UK is not reducing debt nor is it reducing the deficit.

    Quite why anyone wants to vote NO and stick around to watch this catastrophe unfold is beyond me. Perhaps someone out there can explain why any of this is not a risk while Scotland remains part of the UK.

  96. Lesley-Anne says:

    Morag says:

    I’m trying to think of a truly evil animal and failing. Even liver fluke aren’t consciously malicious. And they don’t fight when cornered either as far as I can tell. (I will pop them in a jar of formalin without turning a hair, though.)

    Margaret Thatcher!

    There you go Morag think of that animal I’m sure it will help you greatly! 😀 Let’s face it she was NEVER human!

  97. Capella says:

    Excellent article Scott. Glad that there are real journalists online! Came across a reference to the British Bullshitting Corporation on one of the alternative stations (possibly Aljazeera). The game is surely up when the target audience knows that a broadcaster is pouring out pure propaganda.

  98. BBC lies from start to finish always has done to protect the establishment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcHq5U_ZdiY

  99. Taysideterrier says:

    A little o/t but still relevant to tax and where it is credited to.

    Does anyone know if oil and gas exploration and drilling license fees are included in “oil revenue” figures or are they hidden elsewhere and credited to london where the companys are hq’d for example?

    The license fees are £ billions per well im led to believe so if these are hidden elsewhere theres another bonus.

  100. Les Wilson says:

    G H Graham says:

    Aye, they are deep in shit. The day after a YES, we should be asking them, what are they going to give us, if they want us to join a CU!
    We should peg the currency, the UK and Sterling present huge risks to Scotland, people need to know that.

  101. kestral says:

    Edward

    Thank you for explaining, it would be good for Scottish jobs to be created by Scottish imports

    G H that makes scary reading ,always said you can,t run a service industry country and keep money in the country

    MT did so much damage to this country and it still happening

  102. FlimFlamMan says:

    @ G H Graham

    The UK is not working.

    I’d go along with that, except to add that this is nominal GDP, so we’re actually still producing less, but with higher prices the value has matched the pre-crash level.

    The UK is not selling.

    The trade balance is just as gruesome.

    Gruesome?

    It has been positive only once & very briefly in 2011, over the last 16 years. But it’s even worse than that. The average balance of trade of the UK since 1955 has been negative to the tune of -£1.1 billion per month, every month for the last 59 years.

    If it’s been going on that long how bad can it be?

    This means that the UK imports more than it exports every month. And how does it replace all that currency it spent abroad? Easy. It just prints more of the stuff.

    Well of course, that’s where currency comes from. It gets printed or keystroked into existence from nothing, beyond the paper/metal and electrons needed. It is, or should be, created to match demand.

    But that has a tendency to make the money worth less over the long term.

    Which would help exports, reducing the external deficit that you’re worried about.

    The UK is broke.
    Well, what a surprise. The pound has lost significant value against all the major dollar currencies & the Euro. You know, the Euro that “Flipper” Darling keeps warning us about.

    Depends on the time frame you look at.

    For most, or even all, of the post war period UK governments have tried to maintain sterling at values way above what was reasonable, no doubt out of the usual desire to be a big ‘player’ and pretend the empire still existed. It tended to fall anyway, but not as far or fast as would have been the case without government action.

    Exporters tend to still complain that it is overvalued, and in the last couple of years, and especially the last few months, it has risen in value, even against the US Dollar.

    Meanwhile, Osborne’s debt mountain continues to rise

    Good. That means we, the non-government sector, have more net saving than we would otherwise.

    Despite all the austerity, he borrows more & more money because UK spending still exceeds tax receipts.

    Again, good. The current Westminster government came to power promising to cut the deficit, and to begin with they made good on that promise. Their success, that cut in spending, pushed the economy back into recession. That’s what happens when governments cut spending and the private sector is unable to fill the gap.

    Then in 2012, as you rightly say, they stopped cutting the deficit, and now we’re seeing a sustained, though weak and unequal, recovery. The change in action is so clear and so consistent that it has to be a deliberate policy, but they don’t admit that the cuts were wrong. They just plan to leave the rest until after the next election.

    Quite why anyone wants to vote NO and stick around to watch this catastrophe unfold is beyond me.

    I agree with the first part, but the real catastrophe is not the one you lay out.

    Perhaps someone out there can explain why any of this is not a risk while Scotland remains part of the UK.

    It’s not a risk because the UK has its own currency, and foreigners still, after all these decades of external deficits, want to sell us ‘stuff’ in return for that currency. All those cars and phones and TVs and so on, all in return for our ‘worthless’ currency. Except it’s clearly not worthless.

    The risk to Scotland is not from the UK being broke, because it isn’t broke. The risk comes from the the stagnant level of wages, the unnecessary unemployment, the inequality, the butchered NHS – and its move north if there’s a No vote – the financialisation of the economy and impunity of banksters, the vilification of immigrants, the supine involvement in US aggression providing empire by association, the blanket surveillance… and on and on.

    I should make this a catchphrase: the British state is morally and intellectually bankrupt, but it is not financially bankrupt.

  103. Big Jock says:

    Is anyone else in here concerned about the postal votes?I have been reading about what went on in Birmingham and that wasn’t the British state at work.So with the might of the British state and the opportunity with postal votes.Are we ever going to know if it was a fair vote?Apparently 20% of votes will be postal!

  104. Lesley-Anne says:

    Not just 20% postal votes BJ but the Electoral Commission have instructed returning officers to hold 120% of referendum voting papers. Go figure. 😉

    That fact alone is ringing alarm bells loud and clear for me. There has NEVER been a need for 120% of ballot papers so why should there be a need for 120% Referendum papers. Something STINKS here.

  105. Alexandra-M- says:

    Bloody fantastic piece Scott! Thank you!

  106. Grouse Beater says:

    Flim Flam Man: but it is not financially bankrupt.

    Nor is it rolling in excess cash.

    Its debt keeps increasing – soon to be £1.5 trillion – despite Osborne’s attack on the wages of the masses.

    It’s in dire straits.

    Losing Scotland and its financial input, plus a huge chunk of North Sea oil, leaves it in a more precarious position than ever. Blaming the weak and the vulnerable for its predicament is a classic neo-con tactic to pacify and control, but that doesn’t alter the reality of a seriously ill UK.

  107. IcySpark says:

    Here is a brilliant article regarding the true state of the UK economy any why all is not what it seems. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/25/george-osborne-uk-economy-gdp-recession_n_5617204.html

  108. FlimFlamMan says:

    @ Grouse Beater

    ‘Excess cash’ makes no sense as a concept for currency issuers. Sovereign governments create, from thin air, the currency they spend. They don’t have pots of it laying around that they use. The UK government, like all currency sovereigns, can afford to buy everything for sale in the currency it issues.

    There is currently more for sale in sterling than is being bought, most importantly the labour of the millions who cannot find work. The UK government could eliminate that unemployment if thy chose to simply offer a job to everyone who wants one.

    The UK is not in dire straits because of government debt. That accumulated debt poses no risk, because it is denominated in the UK’s currency; the UK government ‘owe’ something which only they can create.

    I’m not saying the UK isn’t sick, I’m just disagreeing with the specific diagnosis.

  109. Rock says:

    “Readers may feel that the state broadcaster – – -– has somewhat overstepped the bounds of impartiality.”.

    This is how it described itself in its article on the demo on Sunday:

    “The BBC insisted that its journalism was “fair and impartial”.”

    “A spokesperson for BBC Scotland said: “In terms of BBC Scotland’s reporting of the referendum, our journalism is fair and impartial and in line with our editorial guidelines.””

    The liars.

    The propaganda arm of the british establishment more like.

  110. Balls,Darling,Brown,Osborne and Diddy Danny :-

    The Minging Mutant offspring of Adam Smith`s worst nightmares

    “Minga Mutant Muppets”.

  111. You and My Comb says:

    Does anyone know how much of oil from around the UK is actually used in the UK? Is it ALL exported? I wonder how much rUK would need to buy.

  112. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    The BBC lies about lying.

    amazing.

  113. Derick Tulloch says:

    Scott

    Buried deep within HMRC regional breakdown methodology is the truly mindboggling fact that oil exports directly from offshore terminals (i.e. loaded onto tankers directly from the rigs) are allocated to ‘Unknown Region’.

    The value of that averaged £3.6bn a year. I am wondering if GERS picks that up at all. Apologies, I am away from home and don’t have the link but it was online a couple of weeks ago

  114. Capella says:

    @ FlimFlamMan
    I’m guessing the thing that foreign countries want to buy most is probably oil. But that is traded in dollars (which keeps the dollar afloat).
    If the debt is of no consequence because the BoE can simply print money to cover it, why don’t they just print £1.4 tr and cancel it all thus freeing us all from the supposed need for austerity?

  115. Big jock says:

    Does anyone know who oversees the postal voting and if members of the Yes campaign will be part of this?

  116. taysideterrier says:

    Does anyone know if oil and gas exploration and drilling license fees are included in “oil revenue” figures or are they hidden elsewhere and credited to London where the company’s are hq’d for example?

    The license fees are £ billions per well when they start drilling. Between 5 and 8 billion £ im led to believe so if these are hidden elsewhere there is more missing than we realise which would not surprise me.

  117. thewaterbeastie says:

    Yeah…apologies to Scott – classic kneejerk noob error in attribution, but to be honest as soon as I saw what the article was, I leapt straight to the text, as I had been waiting for someone to do a ‘show and tell’ on where the BBC’s ‘magic numbers’ came from…

    Its hard to know which is worse – just flatly multiplying numbers by 12 with Danny’s magic calculator, or quoting from an utterly misleading source to compare chalk with eggs. ‘If we assume SScotland has no more trade with the rUK, zero oil and gas, all whisky distilleries relocate, highland cattle spontaneously combust on the hillside…then Scotland’s export prospects start to look grim.’

    Well, thanks for that insightful analysis, Sherlock. The BBC, always coming up with some useful BBC blah blah…

  118. Chic McGregor says:

    Latest BFS vid straight on to our window loop.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zaT1s_IAWA

  119. Truth says:

    I wonder what the corresponding English figure would be?

  120. Fiona says:

    @Capella

    Your question is directed at FlimFlamMan and no doubt he will give a different answer. But from my point of view it is because they do not want to avoid austerity, since it is part of the neoliberal agenda for dismantling the state. It suits them very well to pretend that what is true for countries without a sovereign currency, like those in the eurozone, is also true for the UK. This is in part justified by the “an economy is like a household budget” mantra we keep being fed. It is an example of Mencken’s observation

    “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

    I think it is really important to grasp that there is no consensus at all in what we are trying to achieve, any more. Some of the politicians and economists have bought the mainstream analysis and truly believe what they are saying: many do not. It does not matter, in the end. What matters is trying to get your head round what is being presented as fact, under the guise of science: and how that fits with the outcomes we actually see. That is not at all easy, because the language is deliberately used to obscure the argument rather than to clarify it. And it is hard to know where to start

    Have think about the debt, which is what we started talking about. We are told that public debt is too high and that austerity is necessary to reduce it. That justifies a great deal of policy which attacks the welfare state, the NHS, etc.

    The first problem is that it is hard to determine what the debt stands at. You say it is £1.4 trillion and the first question is where does that figure come from? Largely it comes from the ONS, but you need to be aware what it refers to: and that is because it is set to increase extremely sharply due to a recent change in the accounting rules which will shortly include things like PFI and pensions liabilities, currently excluded. Will the economy be different if the debt is counted as 5 trillion (as is estimated when those things are included) rather than 1.4 trillion, as now? Nothing in the real world will have changed at all.

    The second thing you have to consider is why this is a bad thing, even if they are correct? The 1.4 trillion is historically a low figure if compared with the GDP, as is usual. It is about 80% of GDP. In much of the period after the last great war public sector debt stood above 200% of GDP and that was a period of much greater equality and prosperity than we have now. So what does it matter?

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=uk+national+debt+history&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&imgil=-fiX5qFIXRqTTM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcSPCYRXyRGyXTpcoczMzJhCXYg1b7HtktMrAwV_Zj5GvCnsWKNE%253B965%253B655%253BgC9ukCkG5KciHM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.economicshelp.org%25252Fblog%25252F334%25252Fuk-economy%25252Fuk-national-debt%25252F&source=iu&usg=__8vx5EOrG9ujlW6tSHgvLK8x2-yA%3D&sa=X&ei=OBvWU7rvN-LG7Abwn4CYCg&ved=0CDIQ9QEwAQ&biw=1422&bih=761#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=-fiX5qFIXRqTTM%253A%3BgC9ukCkG5KciHM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.economicshelp.org%252Fblog%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F09%252Fnational-debt-percent-1900-12.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.economicshelp.org%252Fblog%252F334%252Fuk-economy%252Fuk-national-debt%252F%3B965%3B655

    That is really serious question, not a flippant one. Why does a high public sector debt suddenly inform all policy when a much higher one in the past did not? The question is not even asked very often, and I have not seen a convincing answer as to what of substance has changed.

  121. G H Graham says:

    It is an indicator of how poor the UK is at producing goods that even after long term devaluation of the Pound, the trade balance remains deeply negative.

    When the pound is cheap, it should make it easier to export since the price to the buyer abroad, from their perspective anyway, is lower.

    The problem is that productivity is 30% behind the Germans, French & Americans so that pushes the unit costs back up, negating any beneficial effect of a weaker currency.

    One would think that since interest rates have been at record lows for years now, companies would be using cheap debt to borrow & invest in modernising & automating processes.

    But in response to the wreckless management of the economy by “End of boom & bust” Brown & “Flipper” Darling, banks became either incapable or reluctant to lend money as they struggled to find a way out of near bankruptcy.

    Companies then have few levers beyond wage control then to manage costs. But the pay freezes workers have suffered since 2008 have had a huge negative impact on productivity. The effect is made worse when the average worker observes bankers, MPs & their bosses reward themselves with double digit pay raises & bonuses.

    The consequence is an increasingly low wage economy that suffers from chronic poor productivity while the price of imported materials & energy continues to rise due to a weak pound.

    This is primarily why the private sector is unable to fill the gap created by the deeply hurtful effects of austerity when a government that spends vastly more money than it receives, is eventually forced to start cutting public sector spending.

    So what do we have? I call it the “worst of both worlds.” Ironically, despite the austerity measures, Britain’s net public debt continues to soar which becomes increasingly expensive to service while the private sector lags well behind our best European neighbours.

    Britain then behaves like it is Tim Henman who has fooled himself into believing he is winning at Wimbledon when in fact, he is on the sidelines collecting balls while watching two world class players slug it out for first & second place.

    The better & logical choice to make in September is to vote YES.

  122. Fiona says:

    @GH Graham

    The fact is that our “entrepreneurs” are greedy. They take more out of their businesses, and invest less, than those in other nations. Always have done.

    So a british worker, competing with those elsewhere, works just as hard: but he has less capital equipment per head than germans or americans and he has to work longer hours to produce the same output. Then he is blame for being “lazy”.

    It is a curious thing, to me. The UK was quite good at public service, historically; and rubbish at private enterprise. So it was obvious to our masters that we should remake the public sector in the image of the private, and not the other way around. Go figure…

  123. MochaChoca says:

    Dearie me,

    The BBC page now has the graphic about GVA shown twice for good measure.

    Also, adding up the total exports from their pie chart comes to £235.8bn But according to the ONS, UK exports in 2012 totalled £300.457bn

    Have we just lost £64.7bn on the value of exports? what’s the point of a pie chart if over a fifth of what it is supposed to represent is ignored? The percentages beside the value for each country still total to 100%.

    What an utter farce.

  124. Capella says:

    Thanks Fiona and GH Graham. I did have a look at ratio of debt to GDP and saw that the UK was not particularly bad. Japan is somewhere around 230%. But if Scotland votes YES then our exports are taken out of the rUK equation so making the figures look worse. Even so, as you say, the BoE can bail them out. So what we’re saying is that the attack on the public services, benefits etc is pure malice by Westminster sociopaths and we can simply walk away from it.

  125. FlimFlamMan says:

    Posted a couple of replies this morning, not showing up? Guess I’ll have to pester Stuart.

  126. FlimFlamMan says:

    @ Capella

    I replied to you earlier, and to G H Graham and Fiona; I don’t want to double post so hopefully those will show up at some point.

    It’s not just exports, all Scottish GDP will be removed. But that only makes the debt worse if it is a problem to begin with, which for currency sovereigns it isn’t. Provided the debt is in their own currency.

    So what we’re saying is that the attack on the public services, benefits etc is pure malice by Westminster sociopaths and we can simply walk away from it.

    Malice, incompetence, or both.

  127. Ken Johnston says:

    Last weeks Moneyweek reporting that VAT take 2013-14 to the treasury was £100bn. £1 in £5 of the tax take.

    So would £10bn of that be us.?.

  128. Capella says:

    @FlimFlamMan
    Thanks for reply. I do think we need to get our heads round this business of public finance and what, if anything, is likely to cause the pound to collapse (especially if we are going to be in a currency union!)
    If the pound devalues because BoE prints more AND debt interest escalates, AND Scotland’s GDP and exports exit the system…would that not cause holders of sterling to think twice? Could that not trigger selling sterling? Perhaps someone with a grasp of these issues will post an article!

  129. FlimFlamMan says:

    Comments still not showing up, including a new reply to Capella. The thread seems to have run its course anyway though.

    One correction, for posterity and the two or three people who might actually be reading: I said in my comment at 12:35 that were were talking about nominal GDP, but looking at the ONS release I see that it’s real GDP, so ignore that bit.

  130. Jim Gibson says:

    Some years ago I sent the Rev an excerpt from Tobias Smollett’s book Humphry Clinker which he kindly put out. If you simply dab in Smollet in the archives it can be read. It is still a searing indictment on the ‘benefits’ of the Union and well worth a read

  131. Mark Macleod says:

    Given this information along with the other deceitful figures given by BBC, i.e. share of money spent in Scotland from BBC licence fee, it beggars belief that a think tank of sorts has not been set up in Scotland to counter the lies and misinformation. The ScotGov should act pretty swiftly on this or when Indyref comes along the same old tales will be given by WM – too wee, too poor and too stupid to run our own affairs.

  132. Mike Peddie says:

    And these figures almost certainly fail to calculate “exports” in the tourist trade. A hotel bed, or a restaurant meal, or a travel guide sold to a tourist visiting from another country should surely count as an “export” as the money paying for the service is coming from a foreign bank account.

    Given how large our tourist trade is, this must be quite a significant amount to add to the total of Exports.



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