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GERS 2013/14 For Dummies

Posted on March 11, 2015 by

Unionist politicians, journalists and trolls have barely been able to contain themselves with glee at today’s figures suggesting that Scotland’s economy was weaker in the last fiscal year than in previous years (though still healthy). We’ll keep this short.

1. We’re not sure that “You’ve been in the Union for 300 years and you’re a financial basket case!” is a particularly ringing endorsement of the Union.

2. There isn’t an independence referendum imminent and nobody’s offering Scotland fiscal autonomy, so the state of GERS at this particular moment in time is an entirely moot point.

3. Countries have good years and bad years. This isn’t news. Economies based on volatile resources protect themselves by investing the proceeds from the good years in a contingency reserve for bad years.

Norway doesn’t care what the oil price is because they’ve got a mindbogglingly vast oil fund. The UK, almost uniquely on the planet, never bothered setting one up for Scotland. This reckless and short-sighted mismanagement and neglect again seems a curious argument to deploy in favour of the Union.

4. In the absence of an oil fund, Scotland would have had to borrow money in a bad year. This is what’s currently happening to Scotland in the UK. So, um, what have we gained from being in the Union?

5. We don’t think anyone, except perhaps the odd brainless Sun journalist, is so stupid as to actually imagine that Scotland is being “bailed out” by the UK with billions of extra pounds to cover the shortfall in a bad year. The UK is incurring debt in Scotland’s name which Scotland will have to pay back in a disproportionately high amount. Nobody’s getting a freebie.

schofield

And even if we were, we’ve paid for it many, many times over. In the last 30 or so years, according to independent analysis, Scotland’s net contribution to the UK is at least £68bn.

That’s about it for relevant observations concerning GERS.

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    192 to “GERS 2013/14 For Dummies”

    1. If only we had an honest Public service broadcaster, sigh.

    2. Tackety Beets says:

      Its the stuck record “SNP Bad ” & ” SNP even worse”

      Fingers in ears ” Still Not Listening”

      Good work yet again Rev

      Hope you don’t mind me stealing for ma FB pals etc

    3. Chitterinlicht says:

      Feels very like we are transitioning from the laughing at us to the fighting us stage?

    4. boglestone says:

      That Kevin Schofield guy is a real numpty. He tried trolling me a while back. I had no idea who he was. He seems to have a real chip on his shoulder.

    5. Thepnr says:

      Accepting the figures that Scotland had a £12 billion deficit in 2013/14. I say so what?

      The Scottish government does not have a choice of where it’s money is to be spent. There are savings to be made such as in defense where Scotland’s “share” is £3.5 billion, however only £1.5 of that is actually spent in Scotland.

      I am sick of putting up all these arguments on various BTL comments pre-referendum so won’t bore you with the same.

      At the end of the day, I’m satisfied that Scotland will be a far better country for the vast majority of its people when run from Holyrood rather than Westminster.

      That’ll do for me.

    6. Taranaich says:

      “1. We’re not sure that “You’ve been in the Union for 300 years and you’re a financial basket case!” is a particularly ringing endorsement of the Union.”

      It’s like The Claim of Scotland said: even if you believe Scotland gets more out of the union than it pays in, isn’t that a damning indictment of the union’s ineptitude, to have taken a prosperous, productive and independent nation, and reduce it to such a sorry state?

      That’s the thing for me: even if it transpired Scotland got more from the union than it put in, the mere fact that we don’t have full control over what we get or put in is reason enough for independence.

    7. W Nicoll says:

      I know GERS figures are considered sort of official. But do they actually reflect reallity. does all income into Scotland or generqted in Scotland actually appear in the Scottish income figures.

      My personal case. I receive a pension from a scheme based in England; I pay income tax on it. Is this registered on the figures as Scottish income tax or English income tax. I am certain I am not the only person in this case.

      Businesses are the same. Activity carried out here, but tax collected in England as part of a UK pot.

    8. heedtracker says:

      Our imperial masters run up £1.4+ trillion national debt investing it in England and they’re use £12bn to scare the sweaties into line. Also would someone in the Pacific Quay £500bn PFI box of vote SLAb or else grot, please tell the awful James Cook that the referendum’s over.

      You won James Cook, get over it.

      “Opponents of independence seized on the publication of Scotland’s annual accounts as evidence that the country would have been worse off had it voted “Yes” last September”

    9. Capella says:

      “So I looked back at 32 years of historic GERS data and found the following quite staggering:

      Every year for 32 years (the entire available data) GERS includes a deduction from Scotland’s block grant equivalent to Scotland’s population percentage share of Westminster debt.

      Over the 32 years, Scotland’s share of UK debt interest amounted to £64.1 billion.

      However, during that time had Scotland been an independent country with its geographic share of oil revenues established under international law (as would be the case under independence) Scotland’s’ borrowing over 32 years would have been zero, nil, nothing, no pounds sterling at all.

      I hope that is clear but for absolute clarity let me put it in other words. Scotland paid £64.1 billion (sixty-four thousand one hundred million pounds) interest on debt that Scotland had no need for, simply because we are not an independent country! As a result, on average, £2,000 million was ripped out of the heart of Scotland’s economy every year for 32 years, to pay interest on loans that Scotland didn’t take out and didn’t need. “

      Gordon McIntyre-Kemp 2013 in Business for Scotland article.
      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/revealed-the-accounting-trick-that-hides-scotlands-wealth/

    10. Mealer says:

      The question to put to unionists is “why”? If Scotland is a basket case,why? Everyone accepts that there are many countries with similair population size to Scotland who seem to work away not so bad.A lack of natural resources can’t be to blame,obviously,so what is it? Is it us? Is it the Scottish people? If it is us,what’s wrong with us that we can’t make a go of things? What is it that makes us inferior to other peoples around the world?

    11. Tackety Beets says:

      Exactly Taranaich and Alex / Thepnr

      I would want our Indy status even if I was going to be worse off for many a year .

      Onionists crawing now just gets ma goat !

    12. Bob Sinclair says:

      You know, it would only take about a minute to read that out on the BBC news, I’m pretty sure if they tried really really hard they could manage that.

    13. GERS actually makes the Scottish budget position look better than it is, because it allocates a population share of UK corporation tax to Scotland, which is clearly nonsense.

    14. De Valera says:

      Alex Salmond has maintained for many years that Scotland should look to emulate Scandanavian nations and this is further proof.

      But oh no we’re stuck in the Yoo Kay. Maybe Mr Schofield will pen an article about how bad life is in Scandanavia and poor they are. (They don’t even have Trident, how pathetic is that?)

    15. velofello says:

      Anyone whom believes these ridiculous Gers figures does so as they simply wants to believe them. And simple is the key word.

      Basic question. How can a goods exporting entity/ business that has many products that cannot be manufactured – oil and gas, renewable energy, whisky, tourism ( as has Scotland) run a deficit?

      Well,

      If the business doesn’t enjoy a full price return on its sales due to having a middle man imposing charges ( clue exporting via English ports)..
      if its paying an exorbitant rent for goods and services to is landlord ( clue UK defence charges, UK services, the, now it seems, English parliament and house of Lords).
      If it allows its raw materials to be exported, repackaged by its landlord, and then sold back to its consumers at inflated prices ( clue, the old Colonial trick).
      If its paying for security services that aren’t required. (clue Trident, more admirals than ships).
      If its paying for a theatre company that seldom visits Scotland us to entertain (clue the Royals).

      Doubtless there’s more reasons.

    16. dakk says:

      Spot on Stuart.

      When unionists say to me what would we have done with low oil prices,and they do, I tell them its the best reason there is for fiscal autonomy or independence and controlling our own resources.

      What do we have to show for 40 years of oil revenues apart from our share of the UKs 1.6 Trillion and growing debt.We will give our future generations a pile of National Debt whilst a decent prudent country like Norway will leave a legacy for future generations long after the oil runs out(£600 Billion Oil Fund).

      Its the best argument yet to escape the profligacy of Westminster governance and thats the beginning ,middle and end of it.

    17. Aos says:

      We’re going to have over six weeks of this rubbish now, aren’t we? I can hear the Project Fear engine slowly clanking in life as I type. And no doubt the Record’s front page tomorrow will be its first discharge.

    18. Fireproofjim says:

      It is difficult to say how much of Scottish exports are credited to the GERS figures.
      The largest amount of whisky, for example, is exported from container ports in England and the the value may be credited to English figures. Similarly, United Distillers are headquartered in London so their profits, largely generated in Scotland, will be credited elsewhere.
      However, we will never get the true figures without Full Fiscal Autonomy, or Independence, and our disgraceful anti-Scottish BBC and Labour Party will deliberately put the very worst slant on the figures.

    19. James says:

      It’s only described as a Black Hole when discussing Scotland’s departmental spending (Holyrood and UK) v income if it’s disaggregated from the UK budget. So for financial black hole in Scotland read the altogether more user-friendly term “The Deficit” at UK level. Or even more benign; Treasury borrowing.

      For the UK this is currently £80bn+ PA including the chunk borrowed on Scotland’s behalf and, as we know, has peaked at over £150bn as recently as 2009-10. So in cosmological terms if Scotland’s UK-created deficit is a Black Hole, then the UK is running a Supermassive Black Hole deficit and a National Debt of interstellar proportions. Ah feck beam me up Scottie.

      Still it’s great to know our own Super Patriot, the Murphssiah, would rather belittle his country’s economic prospects, than jump up and down about the fact his countrymen and women are amongst the highest revenue generators across the UK. Ideological sadomasochism Unionist style

    20. Almannysbunnet says:

      Off topic I know but Jeesis!
      David Cameron has hailed suspended Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson as a “great talent”, saying he hopes the situation can be resolved so his children will not be left “heartbroken”.

    21. Lenny Hartley says:

      The Gers figures are meaningless, they do not account for the fact that an Indy Scotland would not be paying for Trident, Overseas Military Bases, Illegal Wars, Mega fancy Embassies, including about a dozen or so in prestigious areas of Washington DC. London Crossrail, HS2 , London Sewers etc etc. Last time I checked we were paying 100% of Royal Protection costs in Scotland and also picking up our UK population share, same goes for the penal system, we pay 100% of Scottish Courts as well as our population share of English ones, well we did in the past and I doubt if that has changed.

      Nicola is saying that we contributed £400 per annum per head more into the UK then the Ruk. But as I say its all smoke and mirrors.

    22. velofello says:

      Shit,
      Aye, I forgot, like W Nicholl above, my pension has an English tax centre. And our venerable BBC Scotland employees? Etc etc etc.

      Perfidious Albion, don’t believe a word.

    23. Joemcg says:

      Creative accounting=GERS figures.

    24. Macart says:

      The amazing historic ineptitude of the UK governmental economic model coupled with the joyous fuckwittery of those who think that’s a good thing. Topped off with a sugar frosting of condescending stupidity that continued poorer than anticipated UK wide performance and a repeat of the same economic formula which underscored the 2008 disaster is a good thing.

      A heady mix right enough. The government’s excuse for not setting up a sovereign oil fund for rainy days is… blank.

      And we’re still joined to that model.

      Oh joy. 🙁

    25. Lollysmum says:

      Until someone in the union comes up with a bloody good reason why they fought to keep Scotland, I will never believe that Scotland is a financial basket case. The golden rule is follow the money.

      Westminster takes far more from Scotland than it dares admit to. That is the only reason it panicked during indyref. It was in danger of being found out once independence negotiations started & you can be sure that the whole world would have heard about it then.

      That’s why they fought in September & are fighting now to try & keep SNP out of Westminster. Well, you know what, I want to know the truth about what the slimy toads have been up to.

      We do know that UK govts stopped producing the figures in 1922 because they were proving embarassing to the sitting govt-so enormous were they, that they couldn’t explain away the wholesale theft of Scotland’s income.

      In almost a century since then, no-one will ever persuade me that those figures dropped one iota. We have just had a continuation of dishonest governments who have covered up the deceit. Just like the CSA enquiry, Chilcot, McCrone report, moving the Scottish sea boundaries to favour England & many other cover ups including lining their own pockets with taxpayers money.

      Yup-Westminster had visions of losing it’s cash cow. Well guess what those visions might just be back in the not to distant future & I don’t believe Scotland will even think twice about saying YES in the next referendum 🙂

    26. Genuine question. When the average UK figure is calculated, do they include Scotland’s contribution within the overall UK figure, or is it only the contributions from England, Wales and Northern Ireland which are counted? My thinking is that if the Scottish contribution was included towards calculating the UK average then it would actually inflate the UK performance. The fairer comparison would be to compare Scotland’s average with the average of the three other (remaining) countries wihin the UK.

    27. Fred says:

      Jackie Bird was practically peein herself over the GERS figures at teatime. The Calamine Lotion for her hacks will be getting big licks tonight. Hope she’s got a bottle in. 🙂

    28. John H. says:

      Do you think they’re trying to demoralise us? 🙂

    29. Joemcg says:

      What was the reason for the desperation to keep Scotland? Asked that question many times on unionist newspaper sites and never got a straight answer. The reply was usually it’s an “emotional bond” Aye right!

    30. Tackety Beets says:

      GERS figures , yes we we all viewed Ivan Mckie on yontube thingy .
      We understood his analysis etc .

      I do not recall a SINGLE time until today anyone @ BBC uttered the word GERS figures ( Exc talking football )
      I do think my first post is correct its about twisting everything to SNP BAD !

      Mibies Aye Mibies Naw .

      Happy to be corrected

    31. dakk says:

      @ Charlie Murphy

      Your right Charlie.

      Scotland should not be allocated a population share of anything.Scotland should just pay all its taxes to the London Exchequer and be grateful for what your Government gives us.

    32. Fran says:

      The under estimation of Scotlands revenue using the GERS is unquantifiable. Tax returns from the major retail not included, self employment income tax and NI taken as liabilities based on English returns.

      We pay over 11% of the uk debt, 12% of the uk contributions to the EU. It just goes on.

      BT are still fighting the referendum.

      Its nothing new that we haven’t heard before.
      The treasury diddle the figures to make it look bad.

    33. galamcennalath says:

      It’s like they STILL want us to stay in the Union.

      Well, if they do STILL want us in the Union they better get used to the MPs we choose to send to WM. And, any influence upon UK policy and direction our MPs exert.

      [ Reality – they want Scotland to stay for reasons of prestige and resources, but they don’t want the Scots to interfere in their political system. ]

    34. Patrician says:

      Basing an argument, on any side of this debate, on GERS figures is just silly.

      Using GERS for an argument on the viability of the Scottish economy isn’t any more valid than someone giving you a bag of apples, asking you to examine them and then asking you to guess the size of the tree they came from and how profitable that tree was. Without seeing th

    35. Mealer says:

      I don’t trust anything the British Goverment say or do.

    36. Patrician says:

      Basing an argument, on any side of this debate, on GERS figures is just silly.

      Using GERS for an argument on the viability of the Scottish economy isn’t any more valid than someone giving you a bag of apples, asking you to examine them and then asking you to guess the size of the tree they came from and how profitable that tree was. Without seeing all the relevant accounts then it means nothing.

    37. Paul says:

      FFS. Jackie Bird pecking at the eyes of truth again on Reporting Scotland. “Scotland is running at a loss!” she announces breathlessly. So? Does she not realise the UK has been running at a loss for years?

      That Kevin Schofield tweet about Scotland being subsidised to the tune of 12.4bn by the UK is disingenuous in the extreme. It isn’t a subsidy because it is funded by debt,not taxes. If Scotland’s deficit was at the UK average (5.6% of GDP) it would be 8.6bn anyway. The extra deficit that Scotland has over and above the UK average is therefore 3.8bn. Given the potential for an independent Scotland to save 1bn on defence spending and the tax revenue from London headquartered companies that is currently lost from Scotland’s accounts, I would say this deficit is no big deal.

    38. Chitterinlicht says:

      When you budget you look at your income and your expenditure

      These figures are based on what we currently have to pay out due to being tied to the Union and all that it does and commits to pay for based on our taxes. Eg trident. Bombing foreign countries. Etc

      This could and would change. In time.

      To look at the GERS figures in an isolated year is just stupid and not how state finances work.

      Unfortunately it is beyond the ken of our MSM to point this out.

      Very grumpy right now

    39. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      On the day that it is announced that the UK National Debt (to which we pay our share) has passed the magical £1.5 trillion mark (£1,500,000,000,000) and is rising at the rate of over £12million per hour any notion that we should have a Scottish economy pulled down by being at the mercy of a completely bust UK is risible.

      As Derek Bateman points out these figures indicate why we have to get out and get control of our own economy.

      (And I love the way our media continually confuses deficit with debt believing obviously that none of us knows the difference.)

    40. Effijy says:

      Isn’t it good that we have people who can translate this inaccurate diatribe into the union has been holding us back for 300 years, and they have excelled at it for the last 32!

    41. Lesley-Anne says:

      Sorry for going O/T here but think you’ll find this quote *ahem* interesting. 😉

      “Most importantly, this is a British election and not a Scottish election. The Scottish things should have nothing to do with it.”

      If you haven’t figured out who said this yet then here is the answer. 😀

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/jamieross/debate-over-debate-over-debate-over-debate-over-debate

    42. scottieDog says:

      As we are referred to as a region of the UK more often than not it would be interesting to see what our comparative regional performance would be.
      Funny that Westminster doesn’t want to give us power to generate revenue so we aren’t such a drag on the rest of the UK. Strange eh.

    43. Ian Brotherhood says:

      SSP’s Richie Venton’s latest blog entry:

      http://richieventon.blogspot.co.uk/

    44. HandandShrimp says:

      Tomorrow the Soaraway Sun Saddo will wine and bitch that Barnett should be cut and that any gap should not be plugged.

      These mindless dipsticks think we button up the back.

      Trust them not because they are untrustworthy.

    45. sinky says:

      O/T but Daily Telegraph claiming Douglas Alexander in deep doo doo for accepting cash donation for access

    46. MochaChoca says:

      Scotland’s non North Sea revenues grew by 6.3% from 2012 to 2013
      The UK’s revenues grew by 6.1% from 2012 to 2013

      Scotland’s public expenditure fell by 2.5% from 2012 to 2013
      The UK’s public expenditure fell by 0.4% from 2012 to 2013

      Despite the fall in oil revenues, Scotland’s deficit, from 2012/13 to 2013/14, fell from 15.1% to 12.2% (or from 9.7% to 8.1% including geographical share of North Sea revenues)

      You could say the oil industry and the UK are now effectively holding Scotland back.

    47. sinky says:

      Scotlands economy not helped by Scottish Labour getting five million leaflets printed in Essex

    48. tartanfever says:

      An important point to consider:

      1) The entire basis of comparison with the rest of the UK is on the deficit figure for 2012-13 being £97.3bn (5.6% of GDP)

      But that figure is a revised figure which includes some of the windfall gained from selling Royal Mail. Without the sell off amount included the UK deficit figure for 2012-2013 is actually £107bn (6.6% of GDP).

      The Royal Mail sell off was described in The Mail:

      ‘Royal Mail pension nationalisation: Far from providing a windfall, it turns MPs into hypocrites and the rest of us into debtors’

      and the important bit;

      ‘Here’s the scam. By nationalising the Royal Mail pension fund, the government gets to snaffle its £28 billion of real, tangible financial assets. That’s all real money, which can be used to offset our borrowing needs, hence the reason why the government debt falls by that amount.

      But the government is also nationalising the future obligations of the Royal Mail pension fund. And – how unsurprising is this? – those liabilities are almost £10 billion greater than those assets. So in fact the taxpayer has just lost out to the tune of £10 billion. The only reason why the government debt looks better not worse is that our current – insane – accounting standards don’t report pension obligations as part of total financial obligations.’

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2117106/Royal-Mail-pension-nationalisation-Far-providing-windfall-turns-MPs-hypocrites-rest-debtors.html

      So if you consider the Royal Mail sell off and pension debt being hidden away off book, then I suppose you may think Osbourne has some financial skill but for the remainder of us, it’s just another sale of an asset that the public will have to pay for through increased stamp prices, a worse service and extra pension liabilities for our kids to endure.

      Also take into account that towards the end of the financial year, which runs from the end of March to end of March, Osbourne’s figures dramatically improved which managed to scrape his borrowing under the target set by the OBR of £107.8bn.

      This dramatic last minute fall in borrowing for March 2013 was described in The Guardian :

      ‘The chancellor was able to meet his target thanks to an unexpectedly sharp fall in borrowing in March to £6.7bn, from £11.4bn a year earlier.

      City economists had expected Osborne to miss it, forecasting a full-year deficit of £110bn.’

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/23/uk-deficit-lowest-financial-crisis-osborne-budget

      How fortunate for Osbourne !

      Guess what happened when we start the new financial year in 2014 ?

      ‘The government borrowed £11.5bn in April – up from £9.5bn a year earlier’

      http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/1295619/uk-debt-burden-hangs-heavy-government-borrowing-2bn-last-month/

      In fact the first few months of the 2014 financial year saw the deficit rise way above 2013 figures. Was Osbourne pushing figures back to hit his target ? Who knows, but that’s what happened anyway.

      In summary, yes the Scottish figures may be worse, but they are certainly not as bad as is currently being portrayed. When the baseline comparison is a pretty dodgy figure created through selling of stuff as opposed to actual clever financial and economic action then there’s good reason to be sceptical.

      Factor in huge bank fines that boosted the treasury coffers and that we in Scotland have to include Scottish Water in our public expenditure and all of a sudden the deficit percentage figure start looking remarkably similar.

    49. HandandShrimp says:

      Ooops that should be whine and bitch…but him being a London journalist wine and bitch is probably more accurate.

      🙂

    50. R-type Grunt says:

      Blair McFuckhead was having a dig at me earlier on Twitter about these figures and I have to admit finances are not my strong point.

      This is a very useful tool you’ve given me now Stu but quite frankly, I believe in the old SNP poster, “Scotland free or a desert”. I detest these vile insurgents in my country.

    51. dakk says:

      Remember they said all the same crap before the referendum and that was before the oil price fall.

      At times I recall people saying there was no oil left, ffs.

      We still managed 45% and that was for full Independence.The oil price and GERS isnt even relevant to a WM GE so who gives a shit even if we were 100 Zillion in deficit,I would still only trust a Scottish Party to look after Scotland’s interests with the current arrangements,or any other arrangements for that matter.

    52. msean says:

      After the referendum scare efforts,most folk won’t believe everything that is fed to them anymore. Here for instance is a discussion over tax/revenue figures,you would never have gotten this pre indyref four or five years ago,they would have just been accepted, I didn’t even know of their existence. 🙂

    53. BJ says:

      Just shows how badly we need out of this crazy union.

    54. HandandShrimp says:

      Paul

      You are spot on. The deficit for the UK as a whole is not a pretty sight and it gives lie to Osborne’s claims to an economic miracle. Unemployment may be down but when millions are in low paid zero hour jobs and barely pay tax the economy is still spiralling downwards.

      Schofield should consider that when the Daily Bun starts fluffing for Gideon again. He can’t have his cake and eat it. The UK is either doing well or it is in a death spiral of debt and the UK is subsidising fuck all with the 12.4b. That is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    55. Capella says:

      Obviously, the sooner we get out of this impoverished Union the better.

      I think the media frenzy illustrates the need for a simple, visual presentation of what the GERS figures mean. That should include estimates of revenue diverted into Westminster’s account through many devious means.

      Any designers out there? People deserve the to know the truth and the MSM isn’t capable of telling it.

    56. Eric D says:

      I’m one of those anoraks who actually printed off all 98 pages – spent a few hours trying to get to grips with it – and then looked at what BBC/Radio Scotland had broadcast/published.

      There is no doubt that those intelligent looking and sounding talking heads from Pacific Quay …… stopped reading after the ‘Executive Summary’.

      And did anyone else spot that BBC Scotland’s ‘Immigration’ series and stories talk about ‘the benefits of immigration’ as an afterthought – but NEVER give the proven and confirmed financial benefits of immigration to the UK Treasury ?

    57. Patrick Roden says:

      OT – Can’t believe it but the Daily Record is accusing the Sun of being anti-Scottish because of their ‘wrecking ball’ image of oor Nicola!

      Talk about Rank Hypocrisy, you couldnae mark the Records neck, with a blow torch.

    58. Lesley-Anne says:

      Sorry for O/T … AGAIN! 😉

      Apparently, according to our beloved Daily Mail, Ho Hum, oor wee Georgie is to hit Benifits AGAIN. *YAWN* Allegedly, according to said *cough* paper wee Georgie will be announcing another £12 Billion worth of cuts to benefits.

      Yup as we all suspected wee Georgie is on another hit the poor for all the financial damage they caused when the banks crashed … DOH!

      http://i.imgur.com/uo2f7mJ.png

    59. Big Jock says:

      I loved Jackie Baillie saying Scotland has been in deficit 4 of the last 12 years. The presenters reply:” but the UK has been in defecit for the last 43 years!” Your point is caller!

    60. Patrick Roden says:

      @ sinky says:
      O/T but Daily Telegraph claiming Douglas Alexander in deep doo doo for accepting cash donation for access

      It’s Danny Alexander of the Lib Dems, Sinky.

    61. HandandShrimp says:

      Eric

      I have to say that the BBC immigration marathon sounded like a prelude to the BBC joining UKIP or Migration Watch. The tone was very anti-immigrant.

      I’m not entirely sure what the point was. The two main parties (by a long way) are not anti-immigration. It is, however, very easy to whip up fear of the “other”.

    62. dakk says:

      @ HandandShrimp

      Osborne also changed the parameters of GDP calculation to include prostitution and drugdealing for the first time so these economic growth figures are cooked for the GE.

    63. Inbhir Anainn says:

      Read this in depth report that examines the lies that are fabricated by Westminster on the UK / Scottish Economy. (the diagram of statistics is at bottom of page) The Great Deception – GERS 2006 and we’ve been diddled long before and ever since.

      http//:www.oilofscotland.org/The_Great_Obfuscation_GERS_2006.pdf

    64. Defo says:

      2014-15 isnae looking super sweet for the follow followers either.

      Coat ?, Getting.

    65. Big Jock says:

      Patrick….Has the Record finally worked out that Labour are finished. They are absolute chancers!

    66. RascalRachael says:

      Everything about this contrived ‘issue’ which I would like to say has already been said (and probably more eloquently) by the posters above.

      So I have to go O/T and point out something that made me actually laugh aloud – in case anyone missed it…

      http://bbc.scotlandshire.co.uk/index.php/city-news/907-slab-hopeful-forced-to-take-the-blair-grand-gets-creative.html

    67. GusI says:

      Charlie Murphy

      You have no idea what you are talking about, population share is NOT used when calculating Scotland’s share of corporation tax. You should read the GERS Methodology before spouting off.

    68. Lesley-Anne says:

      As we all know under the S.N.P. Scotland has done some amazing things on a frayed shoestring of a budget from Westminster. However, I’ve just found this from Shona Robison.

      http://www.insidethegames.biz/commonwealth-games/2014/1026079-glasgow-2014-came-in-32-million-under-budget-report-reveals

      Commomwealth Games came in £32 Million UNDER budget apparently WITHOUT any input from Westminster. I’ll bet Cameron is relly sick about this news.

      Hmm … remind me again Mr Cameron how much OVER budget was the London Olympics. 😀

    69. Dr Jim says:

      If you had a business managed by Westminster wasters you’d sack them
      They’re embezzlers, and thieves caught over and over with they’re fingers in the till
      In Glasgow parlance they’d be Jottered out the door with no references
      What other set of workers gets a wage and keeps all of it without paying their own bus fare to work or put their own petrol in the motor then claims for their dinners in nice restaurants, hotels when it suits them, and then claims for mortgage payments on houses they don’t even live in
      It’s lead me to think that suppose (Mr Got quite a good job guy) goes into the bank for a mortgage and says ” my wages are £67.000 a year, may i have a £2.000.000 pound mortgage please the bank manager’s going to say f..k off you’re 45 years old
      So how come politicians get it and what banks are these who lend stupid amounts of money they wouldn’t lend (Mr Got quite a good job guy) when the politicians job might only be a 5 year gig
      Somebody enlighten me
      Coz 30 years ago i was earning £30.000 and the bank would’nt lend me £150.000 because i was a musician and that wasn’t secure
      I’m still a musician BTW
      I lasted longer than most politicians
      Although i’m broke now!!!

    70. David McCann says:

      Household incomes rise as oil prices fall, increasing consumer spending. Government tax revenues rise as the tax take from corporate and personal income taxes increases by more than the loss of North Sea oil and gas revenues.

      So how come its good news for UK, but disaster for Scotland?

      http://www.energyglobal.com/…/Oil-price-could-boost-UK-GDP…/

    71. Lesley-Anne says:

      Here’s a couple of wee snippets based around the party that shall soon be known as The Party Formerly Known As Labour. ( apologies to Prince if he reads this 😉 )

      http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/03/exclusive-the-nhs-report-that-labour-tried-to-block/

      https://archive.today/hddEN

      I wonder what the Labour response is to the first article about them trying to BLOCK a report and will any party listen to the advice given by the Telegraph?

    72. thedogphilosopher says:

      @ Lesley-Anne

      Being something of a sceptic about the ‘truth’ told by economic stats and figures of any kind, I feel much more inspired by the fact that the Games came in under budget by a decent amount. For me it points the way to what could be done, given time, within the context of Independence.

      Seems a strange thing to say but the indicators I would favour best are those that are governed by commonsense and good old Scottish pragmatism. Having watched some of that series about the workings of the House of Commons, instinct tells you that these guys have totally lost the plot. They are so removed from reality, caught up in their own wee world of power and privilege and outmoded ritual – nothing more than a Punch and Judy Show which is just a sham for any kind of proper, responsible governance.

    73. Lesley-Anne says:

      Here’s a wee inside for those, if any, who still have a crumb of interest in the despicable ramshackles that is the Clarkson debackle.

      https://archive.today/2wE5N

      Oh look we are going to see THE controller of BBC Scotland, Ken MacQuarrie, chairing the disciplinary panel over Clarkson. So we have the head of BBC Scotland taking his orders from BBC HQ chairing a panel investigating a MUPPET employed by BBC HQ. Now I wonder what this disciplinary panel will conclude!

    74. Connor Mcewen says:

      Wings [Usain Bolt] out of the block as usual.
      This continual nit picking of one line or one year of data is very wearing to non political types so Westminster will keep hammering it in the hope it will keep them in their jobs.

    75. Lesley-Anne says:

      Like you thedogphilosopher, I’m not all up to speed on all things Economics. I’m the co founder of WoS Sceptic Society don’t you know. 😀

      No doubt someone will be on shortly to correct me but as far as I can recall all the major building/running of contracts that have had any significant S.N.P. input have all come in ON time and UNDER budget.

      The two most obvious examples of this are the M74 extension and the new Forth Crossing. I would not be surprised to hear either that once the Border railway is up and running that it too was on time and under budget.

      To me it spells one thing loud and clear.

      S.N.P. can be trusted with the economics of Scotland.

      Labour can NOT be trusted with anything.

    76. Onwards says:

      What gets me is the total joy of many unionists when Scotland has a relatively bad year.

      The natural reaction should be.. How can Scotland compete with London and grow its economy ?
      What powers and policies do we need as a country?

      But for some, it is just fantastic to gloat.. “See – we are subsidised! Told you so!”

      The reaction tells you who has Scotland’s interests at heart.

    77. Sunniva says:

      I don’t see what’s so bad about these figures. The deficit has fallen from £14.6 billion to £12.5 billion.

      It’s a higher % of GDP because revenues from oil are less.

      And they are less because of lower taxes in order to encourage investment in exploration.

      And as others have pointed out, it’s often difficult to disaggregate Scottish from British taxation because exports typically go via the London docks.

      Plus Scottish unemployment is lowe than rUK.

    78. liz says:

      Mrs Alistair darling is beside herself with glee at these GDP figures.

      That tube Kevin Schofield doesn’t seem to realise that Scotland is part of the UK, therefore we paid our own deficit.

      Can’t wait to see the back of Lab, they make me sick

    79. Valerie says:

      The crowing about the GERS figures, the continued banging on about immigration, the hysteria about Clarkson (thank gawd there is now a petition to sack him).

      Its bloody rich watching them trying to degrade Swinney (Merlin), and you think how the UK govt have ran the whole country into the ground.

      Swinney – the only man to bring his budget in on the mark for years, and as Alex said – show me another one in Europe.

      The connections to big business, selling off the NHS, ties into energy companies, so they try to press fracking on, they sell the tiny part of the Euro tunnel that was worth a few million. Their approach is utterly rank, and when their media isn’t denigrating us, our country or our govt., I feel bloody sorry for those south of the Border.

      We are shackled to a rotting zombie.

    80. Seasick Dave says:

      Any politician that thinks Scotland is too wee, daft, stupid or glaikit to run its own affairs should not be allowed anywhere near Government.

      Only people who see a bright future with our vast resources should be in charge.

    81. K1 says:

      O/T

      Found this wee indiegogo fundraiser “Daily Mail Week of Action’.

      One of it’s stated aims is;

      “Real Media 2015, a series of events and actions to campaign against media distortion and for independent grassroots journalism. So far we are working with groups such as RealFare, Open Democracy, The Bristol Cable, Slaney Street, The Salford Star, The Manchester Mule, Red Pepper, Occupy News Network, Occupy.com and Bella Caledonia with many more joining us all the time.”

      Good to see more people who are attempting to deal with the msm, who are the core essential problem across these isles with their stranglehold over the dissemination of lies and obsfucation… oops…I mean news.

      Doesn’t end until April 27th. One for the bookmark if funds are tight after all our recent and current pocket digging 🙂

      https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/daily-mail-week-of-action#home

    82. Kevin Evans says:

      Hey wingers – could someone steer me in the right direction of who to contact so I can assist in canvassing for the SNP in my area – is it just a question of contacting my local SNP offices?

    83. Ken500 says:

      The so called ‘deficit’ is run up in Scotland by the UK Westminster economic policies. The ConDem increased the Oil tax 11% (£2Billion) a year in 2011 Budget. Westminster take now up 80%+. Thev Oil Companies cut exploration Scotland lost £4Biillion+ a year (£16Billion). Scotland could put a tax on ‘loss leading’ drink saving £1Billion. Stop tax evasion by Whisky Companies would gain 1/2Billion. Cut Trident/illegal wars £1Billion. = £6.5Billion. Put a tax or tariff on exported fuel/energy (Scotland is surplus in fuel and energy) £1Billion. The price of energy in Scotland would be in parity with the rest of the UK. £7.5Billion. £4Billion of the deficit is debt repayment
      charges. Eradicate the debt and there are no debt repayments.

      Scotland would have no deficit if Scotland had fiscal autonomy/Independence. Scotland would be in surplus and could have eradicate poverty. To have a more equal fairer society . Scotland could put an inheritance tax on non productive land. A tariff or tax on exported (non oil) fuel and energy and bring Scotland into parity. Scotland prices could gain parity as nearer the source costs could be cheaper. Scotland also has lost out of an opportunity to access EU renewable grants (£Billions) because of Westminster indecision.

      There is a need to convince some auld womiin, perhaps Nicola or the grandchildren could do it.
      Scotland could have had a £222 Oil fund. Poverty could have been eradicated in Scotland. Nearly 100 years of Westminster misrule and mismanagement. A bunch of Unionists who like to talk Scotland down. Westminster crooks who break every Law in the land and get away with murder.

    84. Ken500 says:

      Maybe the SNP could teach the Westminster crooks how to count and do the UK a favour. Chance would be a fine thing. Better to break free.

    85. John Smith says:

      The GERS report misses out the petrol selling taxes. It looks like this was 19 billion in 2012 and 12 billion in 2014.

      http://www.pwc.co.uk/assets/pdf/total-tax-contribution-feb2012.pdf

      Taxes on consumption (product taxes)
      Net VAT
      3,165,744,048
      Fuel duty
      15,073,642,046

    86. Ken500 says:

      Could an example be given on what the £12Billion Defict is spent on. Is it projects in the rest of the UK or just a % of the rest of the UK deficit (pro rata) allocated to the Scottish accounts.

      Scotland raises £54Billion in taxes. Gets back £35Billion Block Grant (pays for everything?) £15Billion (UK) gov pensions/benefits. £3Billion Defence + £1Billion left.

      The UK raises £466Billion in taxes (Official UK Gov website) down from £600Billion raised in the UK in taxes 2010.

      No wonder Alistair Darling crashed the economy. He can’t count. Mr/Mrs Darling could do with a few Maths lessons. Laughing all the way to the bank, protection their fortunes.

    87. John Smith says:

      “The UK raises £466Billion in taxes (Official UK Gov website) down from £600Billion raised in the UK in taxes 2010.”

      You could be missing the other category which is around 100 billion.

    88. ScotsCanuck says:

      …”Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics” springs to mind.

    89. bjsalba says:

      Lesley-Anne
      The Telegraph begins:

      Marketing is dead. According to Kevin Roberts, one of advertising’s most senior executives, business is no longer about labels.

      Yet later it says:

      Labour must generate in the English the same visceral loyalty to nationhood that has galvanised Scottish politics.

      That shows they have not understood what is happening in Scotland.

      SNP did not generate visceral loyalty. They earned our respect by providing competent government for the majority of the population.

      As far as I am aware, none of the Westminster parties can match that record. Just look at the last two administrations. Would the word competent come to mind?

      What Westminster and the City types are terrified of is that the average rUK voter will find out what we have and demand it.

    90. Jim coyle says:

      Does the gers report take into account the 9.7 billion to Westminster in service charges and does it also take into account the 5 billion we pay to the national debt?

    91. heedtracker says:

      The main vote Slab or else double whammy stuff from here to May 7 is, BBC/SLab says Scotland and SNP Scots.gov cant run the Scottish economy and Scotland is not viable without England.

      Why they’re so desperate to keep control of Scotland if its such a drain, is one more teamGB mystery. Tough love.

      Its also getting clearly by the day why SLab and Morphy keep saying what amazingly patriotic Scots they are and vote SLab is the patriotic way to greatness for Scotland, run by England, because that works so much better doesn’t it. Confused.

      Come on Lord Ashcroft get the next poll fired up and watch the BBC UKOK propaganda machine go even more apeshit with their “get the foreigners, you’re all bust. vote SLab or else you deluded fools…”

    92. Craig P says:

      Re: CharlieMurphy –
      Oil revenues alone make up to 20% of UK corporation tax. Getting 8.6% back is hardly doing us a favour – even if it were true – which it isn’t.

      Must troll harder.

    93. Ken500 says:

      £12Billion Deficit is £4Billion lost because of 11% (£2Billion) increase tax a year on Oil industry (take now up to 80%+ – lost to Scotland in four years – £16Billion)

      £1Billion could be saved on tax on ‘loss leading’ drink
      £1Billion could be saved on cutting Trident/illegal wars
      £1/2Billion (and the rest £Billions) could be saved on a stop on tax evasion, on Whisky etc.

      Scotland could access EU Grants for Renewables or gain inward investment from renewable companies. CC could access coal which is half the cost of imported Gas, in the rest of the UK. Imported from Statoil, the State owned Norwegian company and Nuclear from the French State supported company and the Spanish State energy companies. Thatcher sold off utilities in Britain.

      £4Billion is debt repayment on the deficit, which would no longer be applicable as Scotland would be in credit.

    94. Ben Roberts says:

      Now if we could find a long enough billboard to fit all the zeros…

      £222,000,000,000
      Scotland’s net subsidy to the UK over the last 30 years.
      Who’s really better together?

    95. Ken500 says:

      National debt 1.4Trillion. National assets 7.4trillion.

    96. EphemeralDeception says:

      Gers isn’t worth the paper its written on, overstates expense allocated to Scotland and understates revenue and is not auditable.

      The real position requires FFA and audited accounts.

    97. Hoss Mackintosh says:

      “Curse of No” strikes again…

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-3184656

      Shame – hopefully a few more No supermarkets will follow them.

    98. heedtracker says:

      Another spectacular display of BBC bias propaganda just the noo with Vote ConDem Danny “THE Highlander” Alexander and R4 Jim Maughty explaining that everyone is voting Libdem in the Highlands and its now called the neverendum, says Jim. No one, repeat no one in the Highlands is voting SNP, only LibDem, got that Highlanders, no-one. Tory Highlanders urged to Vote LibDem especially, Jim pleads.

      Can BBC creeps like Naughty sink any lower? Hope so!

    99. Take Independence says:

      We as a country should be looking at what we do today in order to guarantee what happens tomorrow, forget about another referendum you will always get individuals than only care about wealth & themselves. I agree with what Gordon Wilson has said “Scotland should declare independence if the rest of the UK votes to leave the European Union against its wishes”. I pray to god that England vote the Tories back in and the English voters do the rest on the in/out of Europe. I aren’t interested full half or part of Devo max.

    100. Golfnut says:

      Scotland 12.9 billion deficit (treasury manipulated)

      Scotland financial assets 1.3 trillion ( as described by some guy from the BOE to the treasury committee)

      Uk dept 1.5 trillion. EH.. who is it that’s broke again?

    101. Sinky says:

      Kevin Evans says: at 3:57 am

      Try contacting your local SNP offices failing which phone SNP HQ at 525 8900

      Good front page in National http://www.thenational.scot/

      And amongst the usual Labour propaganda good articles by Robbie Dinwoodie and Iain Macwhirter in Herald

    102. ScottieDog says:

      It’s funny the flat earthers just can’t put two and two together – a generational oil bonanza and we still generate deficits. To them it must infer a genetic flaw in the population. It’s the kind of dogma that wouldn’t look out of place in the 30s.

      Still, the london experiment is coming closer to its end. The replacement of capital with printing of fiat currency, the inflation of another private debt bubble and monetisation of debt by the back door (QE) can only go on for so long.

      Still they’re beholden to the mantra of ‘london provides’ to the very end.

    103. Ken500 says:

      £4Billion is debt repayment on the ‘£8Billion deficit?’ 50% interest rates? (£8Billion? + £4Billion = £12Billion?). Think of a number and double it. UK Gov Accounting practices. Illegal fraud.

    104. peekay says:

      The whole thing is an exercise to hide Scotlands income and highlight it’s expenditure. From whisky exports now being an English export to the redrawing of the maritime border. I was just looking through the UK infrastructure site, wonder if the flags will be upside down on our wee plaques too?

      https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/infrastructure-uk

    105. Bob Mack says:

      @Ephemeral Deception
      Totally agree with you. I have friends who work in accountancy,and they could manipulate the data to get even Alan Sugar to seem like a pauper.So much of Scotlands actual revenues are re allocated and moved around they become hard to trace for the common researcher.I suppose ultimately that is the purpose.

    106. desimond says:

      The image of a Pimp haranging one of his girls for wasting the paltry kickback money he gives her on looking after her family rsther thsn keeping her herself ‘nice and presentable’ springs to mind

    107. heedtracker says:

      Jim Naughty now fluffing Nigel Farage on R4 news. What has Farage got that gets teamG/BBBC tory boys so excited, after a week of we hate johnny foreigner don’t we Scotland from his chums in Pacific Quay. Are they getting worse in that outfit, could they get any worse after their vote NO campaign. Yes they can.

    108. caz-m says:

      More trouble for the GERS.

      “Rangers investigate sexually explicit Mohammed tweet”

      “The message was sent from Chris Graham’s Twitter account to radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attack.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-31838762

    109. Ken500 says:

      What a complete and utter fraud. Lies and duplicity. Just scandalous.

      They are advertising the £466Billion taxes raised in the UK as a investment fund for infrastructure. A complete and utter lie. Westminster secrecy and lies, beyond contempt.

      £466Billion + £90Billion borrowed and spent. No mention of that. (UK go official we site)

      Scotland raises £54Billion in taxes (of that) – higher pro rata. Plus the rest.

      £466Billion down from £600Billion raised in 2010 (plus £120Billion borrowed in 2010).

    110. manandboy says:

      On Independence and a bankrupt Britain, David Cameron, at PMQ’s yesterday said:
      The British people will never have it.”

      David Cameron knows that with Independence for Scotland
      comes bankruptcy for England.

      Even though he continues to maintain that Scotland
      is dependent on England.

      Scotland remains in the grip of the latest evil regime at Westminster.

      Cameron says ‘the British people will never have it’,
      but what he wants to say and what he really means is
      ‘England will never let you go, you bunch of savages.’

    111. galamcennalath says:

      @Nana Smith

      Re anti Trident demo in George Square. I note speaking at the rally will be Nicola Sturgeon and Patrick Harvie but also Labour MP Katy Clark.

      How can any Labour MP have the brass neck to turn up and address the crowd at an anti wmd rally? She is a member of a party committed to the continuation and replacement of Trident.

    112. Naina Tal says:

      Hey,Boss
      Link doesn’t work. Mebbe the biased broadcasters took it
      doon? Intrigued, though. Whit wis the gist o it?

    113. Naina Tal says:

      Sorry ! Meant “Hoss” Predictive text! Keech!

    114. jackie g says:

      Kevin Evans @3.57am

      If you are a member of the SNP then your branch will have contacted you? if you are not a member you can find out which branch is near you on the link below for the SNP website hope that helps.

      http://www.snp.org/

    115. orri says:

      Surely point 2 fails given a move towards full fiscal autonomy, or Devo Max, is going to be one of the SNPs aims? So the relevance is that the way these figures are being portrayed is partly an attempt to head that off at the pass.

    116. Macart says:

      Its amazing the amount of fiscal ignorance out there this morning, especially from the forces of the evil empire.

      Ooooooo Scotland would be bust, in the crapper, broke if you’d gone independent etc. They’ve gained this insight from one report y’know. Even breaking it down to simple the basics seems to escape these economic giants of the interwebby.

      Now I am nowhere near an expert on the economy but the last I heard, you go broke when you have nothing to underwrite your debt and no future prospects of having the ability to do so. Hey presto, bish, bash, bosh, you’re broke.

      But just to be clear, even in a bad year with no sovereign wealth fund and following another’s economic model with zero control over the levers of our economy and an apportioned budget, Scotland has more than enough resources and economic weight to underwrite any debt it has accrued.

      Give us the levers of our own economy and full access to our resources. Let us build an economic model to suit our needs and priorities, and a few years to sort out the appalling economic carnage they are wholly responsible for, then we’ll see who was right. Until then, their system and their parties own this mess, the debt, the direction and the responsibility, ‘Austerity Britain’.

      Well done on that.

    117. Mealer says:

      The Anti Trident rally will be an ideal opportunity for Jim Murphy to get on his Irn Bru crate and persuade folk that nuclear baby frying is a good idea.

    118. caz-m says:

      Nana Smith 8.40am Re: Trident rally.

      I see Labour MP Katy Clark will be addressing the Anti-Trident rally.

      Does Katy Clark think that if she keeps turning up at rallies like this, that are attended by a majority of YES voters, that we will forget she is a member of a Party who wants to re-new Trident.

      Does she think we will forget that she voted NO in the Referendum.

      Does she think we will forget she is a member of a Party that has signed up to be even tougher than the Tories regarding austerity.

      Katy Clark, you will not get any respect from me until you resign from the Red Tory Party.

      IF you don’t resign, then you are telling me that you don’t have a problem with Labour Party policy.

    119. Eppy says:

      Radio 4 this morning led with the LibDem story from the Telegraph and gave a lot of coverage about the alleged access offered to the potential donor to the senior members of the party, including Danny Alexander.

      GMS had the item 5th on the list at both 7 and 8 am and seemed to cover it as if it was a much more minor issue affecting only candidate for Brent Central. Nothing to see here. Move along…

    120. Lollysmum says:

      Hoss Mackintosh at 7.38am
      That page you linked to is missing in action. Page not found!

      Another disappearing article on BBC.

    121. Nana Smith says:

      @galamcennalath & caz-m

      K clark has a brass neck, fairly typical of lying conniving slab.

      She may find out at the rally what folks really think of her, perhaps she needs to re think her attendance.

    122. Macca73 says:

      Wooooaaaahhh there!! Oh that’s it then. Stop the bus and vote for a westminster party because the Sun newspaper said so?

      Just so they are clear, Last time either of them was in charge they have still managed to drive the economy to the ground and suffered the largest tailspin in our economy.

      Incase the Sun doesn’t hear too well. That’s not Scotlands fault! I’d still trust Swinney with my money over any westminster chancellor so go and stick it where the SUN don’t shine!

    123. ScottieDog says:

      Of course what would make complete sense if it was the case that scotland was a drain on the nation would be to give it powers to create revenue and boost its income. So why won’t they?

    124. Jim Arnott says:

      Scots need to do the sums to see how much we have been robbed of by being part of the Union over the last 30 years. £222bn pounds is £42,213 per person or £168,853 for the average Scottish family of two adults and two weans. What could your family do with nearly £170,000? This assumes a Scottish population of 5.259m

    125. call me dave says:

      In the Herald it must be true. 🙂

      https://archive.today/lbCnb

    126. Eppy says:

      On radio 4, smuggled away at about 6.12 am was an interview by Jim Naughtie with the editor of the Inverness Courier which was talking about the wide support for the SNP in the Highland LibDem seats.

      Was it re-broadcast on GMS at a more civilised time or did I just miss it? My hubby thinks that I am becoming a bit paranoid about the coverage.

      Someone out there, say it is not just me detecting a slight amount of bias, please.

    127. pitchfork says:

      Katy Clark has a long track record of opposing trident both inside and outside of Westminster. She has every right to address the anti-trident rally.

      I would not be voting for her in May but there is no question of her commitment to nuclear disarmament.

    128. Colin Rippey says:

      The GERS figures were all the rage only a wee while ago:

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/gers-between-the-lines/

      “The GERS report, despite its own best efforts, provides empirical evidence that Scotland can afford to look after itself – even in an emergency – better than by handing over all its money and entrusting itself to the “charity” of the UK. And that’s why the No campaign is pulling out all the stops today in a desperate and comical attempt to distract people’s attention from it.”

      First comment on the post:

      “I was looking forward to the release of the GERS figures, so I’m glad to see that they’ve lived up to expectations. After the Unionists insisted that Scotland’s relatively small deficit was rare and would soon be huge, it became even smaller – and with independence, we can keep it that way. I’m looking forward to the Wings take on the leaked paper disseminated by the No campaign next.”

      Not so much now then eh?

      Anyone who argues a position that has no facts to back it up is basically a fanatic, but then if there was any doubt that the yeserati were not fanatics it has been removed.

    129. tartanarse says:

      One of the Sun’s “ginger rats” will be heading in the wrong direction soon. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

      BBC gleefully talking about tactical voting this morning to stop those nasty SNP’s. I could almost picture Jim bouncing around like an animated wee pixie.

    130. chris kilby says:

      Why are so many unionist politicians always so quick to talk Scotland down at every opportunity? Why such evident glee? And why do they think they are so unpopular already?

      I don’t know. Maybe they have some sort of collective death wish – no-one likes us, we don’t care! Can’t they see it’s political suicide?

      PS: Keep up the good work guys.

    131. chris kilby says:

      They really hate us, don’t they? I mean really, really hate us. Almost as much as they must hate themselves.

    132. heedtracker says:

      Rancid Guardian/Libby Carrell really putting the boot in with their vote SLab terror campaign

      “Opposition parties insisted the data raised profound doubts about the affordability of the Scottish National party’s (SNP) quest for full fiscal autonomy, a system short of full independence where Scotland collects all its taxes and funds all its services, while paying a share of the UK’s defence, foreign and overseas aid budgets.”

      “Profound doubts” from this hard core UKOK shill is nae bad but all the fake lefties of the rancid old Graun are interesting to watch as they really monstered Scotland using sterling hard and that kind of attack seemed to freak out swithering wealth off indy voters. It worked 18 Sept so why change a winning game and we hate foreigners dont we BBC.

      This is certainly the way they’ll go from now on but how come red tory Graun leaves out austerity teamGB heading Scotland’s way from the whole attack.

      Corrupt, lying, sneaky, creepy, scary, propaganda, The Guardian

      Vote SLab Scotland or Severin Brookes will be angry.

    133. Mealer says:

      Colin Rippey,
      9 out of 20 voted for independence.Unionism is getting so old.Your support.Your media.So tired.So very frail.Youre hanging on by your fingernails.I think you know that.

    134. ian says:

      We generate more income per person than the rest of the uk despite being a low wage economy and despite having very limited control over Fiscal Policy.Also who realy believes that the figures we are given are entirely accurate i would’nt mind seeing the real books.It seems clear to me we are doing quite well considering we are doing it with our hands tied behind our backs.

    135. Valerie says:

      Just read the Torygraph report on the Fanny Alexander thing. It was a reporter going undercover as a donor to get access to a posh dinner with the hedge fund managers.

      I really hope the Treasury dupe loses his seat, or there is no justice. He is really just a sound bite, way out of his depth. A robot repeating – that’s really important.

      Not sure he has actually done anything wrong, what is more interesting is the roll call of rich donors.

    136. Mealer says:

      I’m really glad I don’t have to have my tea with hedge fund managers.

    137. AnnieG says:

      Will everyone please stop going on about an oil fund…Even if we had one you know perfectly well Gordon Brown would have used it already.

    138. No no no...Yes says:

      If there was ever any doubt that Ashcroft’s polls were to be taken with a pinch of salt, this may help to clarify:

      https://archive.today/uWTRm

      Dougie Alexander Labour’s strategist meeting in secret with Lord Ashcroft. Red Tory, Blue Tory still working together. Shocker!

    139. caz-m says:

      pitchfork 9.48am

      “She has every right to address the anti-trident rally.”

      No-one said Katy Clark should not attend the Rally.

      But this Unionist MP, who voted NO to keep us tied to this Westminster madness, cannot not have it both ways.

      She supports a Labour Party who wants to re-new Trident. So I would call her a self serving hypocrite.

    140. Dawn in NL says:

      Hi Lollysmum and others,
      Hoss’ link is missing a 6 at the end.

    141. Grouse Beater says:

      They really hate us, don’t they?

      Not hate, just use and abuse. They are scared of being alone.

      If this essay fills you with visionary zeal, pass it on.

      http://wp.me/p4fd9j-144

    142. bookie from hell says:

      Fraser Nelson(telegraph–tory thru & thru) tweets

      Great to hear @BBCr4today report from the Highlands If I was still in my hometown of Nairn, I’d defo vote @dannyalexander. A great unionist.

      bfh– a few weeks ago he said he would vote labour jim Murphy scotland

      He must have mobile to the women Scotland in Union,single mother who’s set up a shell company,who formerly lived s africa,calling for tactical voting against SNP

    143. Famous15 says:

      Where is the capital of the UK?

      In a Swiss bank account!

      Boom,boom

    144. boris says:

      o/t: I posted articles, (listed below) covering a number of Scottish MP’s providing pen pictures of their activities over the period they held office as a Westminster MP. Have I missed anyone that needed covering?

      http://caltonjock.com/2015/03/12/this-lot-are-beyond-the-naughty-step-time-they-were-evicted-7-may-2015-provides-the-opportunity/

    145. frogesque says:

      I wouldn’t take any lectures from the Labour Party (2013 debts of £12M) or the Cons (2013 debt of near £2M) about fiscal propriety.

      Labour is now over £10 million more in debt than the Conservative party, figures released today revealed.

      Statistics for the third quarter of 2013 put the Labour party’s outstanding loans at an eyewatering £12,317,275, after it managed to repay just £385,783 in the three-month period.

      That compares with a £1,286,000 repayment from the Conservatives, which reduced its total outstanding loans to £1,783,933.

      These figures for 2013.

      http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2013/11/13/labour-nearly-ten-times-more-in-debt-than-the-tories

    146. caz-m says:

      In My opinion, Katy Clark wants to be portrayed as a Socialist who wants to do her best for Scotland.

      May I suggest that Katy Clark resigns from the Unionist, UK Labour Party and become a member of the Scottish Socialist Party or the SNP or the Greens.

      People might start to treat you with a bit more respect Katy.

      I will find it difficult to take you serious at the Trident Rally, with a Union Jack wrapped round your neck.

    147. Alan Weir says:

      I think the Scottish Government has been too timid on this issue. The BritNats were delirious before the referendum when the (unfortunately named) GERS figures for 12-13 showed, in their terms, a transfer from rUK (because Scotland had a higher per capita fiscal deficit than the UK) and delirious because the IFS predicted it would only get worse. This years figures, because of the oil drop, underscore that.

      But these figures all presuppose the outrageous assumption that Scotland pays £5-6 billion a year to rUK as our share of UK national debt. I don’t deny we have to shoulder our share of that liability. But the UK government has a liability to Scotland for restitution for one the greatest mis-sold investment of recent times, far worse than any PPI scandal. Wingers will know exactly what is meant, namely the lies in the 70s about the oil when the Labour govt was sitting on the McCrone report, which stayed secret a lot longer than Auld Nick Macpherson’s Treasury report last year.

      If a shady investment dealer buys an asset off you telling you its worth a grand but knowing it’s worth a lot more you are entitled to restitution- to be returned to where you would likely have been. The economists the Cuthberts calculate that a conservative estimate for this is Scotland with a £148billion surplus not a debt of around that size rUK should be paying us £6 billion a year, not the reverse and in that case we would be able to cover current public expenditure without touching the oil, which could indeed be used as a bonus, small with the price is low, large when it is high. (I’d vote not to put it in pension funds but to buy majority government shares in successful Scottish companies, turn the equity shares into non-voting shares and make the board answerable to the workers. That would be more effective at reducing inequality than fiddling with the tax system).

      At the very minimum, the SNP bottom line for the GE, if they hold the balance of power, is for full fiscal autonomy with a clean slate, zero debt for the Scottish government; plus holding the UK government’s feet to the fire on their supposed ‘Union Dividend’, which they claimed was a £7 billion a year ‘subsidy’, in their terms, but which will be higher now given the oil drop. That would at least be partial restitution.

      Presumably the SNP thought before the referendum it wasn’t credible to outright reject the claim that we have a net liability to the UK and still think that. But the full fiscal autonomy policy has no credibility at all without demanding restitution for the oil mis-selling. How much could be achieved will depend on the balance of power, but at least we will achieve more than Devo Plus, which is a means to Austerity Plus for Scotland by dint of ensuring that the amended Block Grant Adjustment brings per capita Scottish public spending down even faster than the UK, down to the UK average.

    148. Ken500 says:

      What is the £8Billion ‘deficit’ for, apart from Westminster mismanagement? Why is Scotland ‘paying’ 50% interest rates (£4Billion), on £8Billion of supposed ‘defict’ when international interest rates are 1%+. Scotland could get much lower interest rates on the International money markets.

      Chancer Clark

      (Football) Companies who employ people of only one faith are breaking UK Company Law, UK/EU Equal Opportunity Employment Laws and Sports regulations. They should be reprimanded.

    149. Flower of Scotland says:

      Don’t forget the BBC demo at Pacific Quay on Sun.15th. Meeting and walking from George Square in Glasgow down to Pacific Quay. From 2pm.

      See some of you there!

    150. Dorothy Devine says:

      OT but has anyone read Fraser Nelson’s drivellings agin’ Alex Salmond?

    151. Valerie says:

      Frogesque @ 10.52, how disgusting is that? They can’t manage the party finances to such an registering extent????

      AND if the party is wound up, that debt will be written off, and any supplier of services will suffer.

      I hope businesses look at this ! Would you do business with a company that much in debt?

    152. Valerie says:

      Eyewatering

    153. Nana Smith says:

      @Eppy

      Think this is the interview

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02lsyff

    154. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Very excellent contributions today in the Herald from McWhirter and Dinwoodie. Almost justifies buying it

    155. Eppy says:

      Hi Nana Smith,

      Thanks for the link. Not sure how to do these links myself. Maybe Stu could do a wee on-line tutorial to educate us techy newbies.

      Actually, there were two Jim Naughtie pieces and your link was to the second at around 7.30 am. The more positive for the SNP interview was, as I said hidden away at 6.12 a.m and featured Robert Taylor, editor of the Inverness courier.

      In the intro to the piece Jim Naughtie actually mentions the “titanic battle between the SNP and Labour”

    156. Marcia says:

      Famous15

      That should be passed around.

    157. FrancoScot says:

      First post. Be gentle with me. (Especially BTP.)

      Here’s a wee thought. For those of us who believe that the very job of Govt is to kick-start economic growth, especially in lean times (anyone remember the New Deal (the real one, FDR) which turned the US from an economic dust-bowl into the juggernaut of the 50s and 60s?), it’s good to see any investment in the things that need done strategically in these islands, especially when the folk currently in charge in London believe in the dogma of ‘small government’.

      So I’ve just been looking at the UK Govt’s National Infrastucture Plan, which was trumpeted last December at a projected cost of 466 Billion. Note, National. Note UK. I assume this is charged pro rata to Scotland in any GERS type figures (If I’m wrong, please feel free to correct me, I am aware that Holyrood funds stuff in Scotland, but by definition that funding comes out of Scotland’s ‘pocket money’, no?)

      The following quote is from the gov.uk website announcement from December last year, with my addition of (geographic information in brackets.)

      “The National Infrastructure Plan, launched at the Institution of Civil Engineers, also sets out the progress made on previously announced major housing and regeneration schemes, including the first £100 million investment to provide infrastructure and land remediation at Ebbsfleet, (South East England) taking forward the government’s commitment to the first new garden city for almost 100 years, delivering up to 15,000 new homes. Additionally, it includes a commitment to a heads of terms agreement for a loan of £55 million to support the extension of the London Overground to Barking Riverside (South East England), to unlock the delivery of 11,000 homes; and supporting the regeneration of Brent Cross (South East England) subject to a business case, to unlock 7,500 homes. Today the government is also extending the capital settlement for affordable housing by £957 million in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to ensure that 275,000 new affordable homes can be delivered over the next Parliament.

      The plan also commits to £2.3 billion of capital investment to over 1400 flood defence projects in an unprecedented 6-year programme of investment. As a result, over 300,000 homes will be better protected and over £30 billion of economic damages prevented. Major projects that will benefit include £42 million for Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (South East England), £80 million for the Humber Estuary (East England) and over £17 million for Tonbridge, Yalding and the surrounding communities (South East England).

      In addition, the government has committed to spend £15.5 million in Somerset on flood defences over the next 6 years benefitting 7,000 properties, including £4.2 million on the Somerset Levels and Moors (South West England).

      On roads, the plan outlines the biggest package of improvements undertaken in the modern age including £15 billion of investment which will triple levels of spending by the end of the decade. Over 1,300 new lane miles will be added over the next parliament on motorways and trunk roads tackling congestion and fixing some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the network like the A303 (South England), A1 (North England)*, A47 (Midlands England) and A27 (South England).

      The plan also reports on progress on infrastructure investment and delivery since 2010. It concludes that over 2500 different projects or schemes have been delivered including 55 major roads and transport schemes, over 500 flood and coastal erosion defence improvements, 20GW of new electricity generation capacity created and 1.5 million homes provided with access to superfast broadband for the first time.

      Overall £460 billion worth of public and private investment to the end of the decade and beyond is planned across the key infrastructure sectors and average annual investment is 15% higher in this Parliament than it was in the previous Parliament, increasing from £41 billion between 2005 and 2010 to £47 billion between 2011 and 2012”
      Quote ends.

      In addition much was made in the announcement of flood defences. I assume they’ve never heard of isostacy then……….not much need for those in the north of these islands!

      *For those who might be thinking ‘ok, the entire length of those roads is in England, exceptsome of the A1…are we getting any investment..?’ think again. The stretch of the A1 marked for upgrade is near York!

    158. Marcia says:

      Eppy

      Here is the full programme;

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054t3s0

    159. call me dave says:

      The dug is still snarling. 🙂

      https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/

    160. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Colin Rippey at 9.53

      These GERS figures are an argument for the union? Run that past me again.

      We are not doing well therefore let’s stay the way we are, is it?

      300 years of a union and we’re doing badly and the union is good for us?

      Or is it that we’re just too stupid to run our own affairs.
      So stupid in fact that we should just stay shackled to a UK £1.500,000,000,000 in debt and rising and keep paying our share of the massive annual interest on it, not to mention our share of Trident, paying for illegal invasions,strutting about of the world stage etc etc.

      Piss off

    161. muttley79 says:

      I am glad the MSM are putting the boot into FFA, after all they were promising us Devo max if we voted No. It just shows they are against any significant change to Scotland’s constitutional position. Of course Yes supporters know that fine well, but this shows everyone that their primary aim is the maintenance of the British state in its current form.

    162. Macart says:

      @ muttley

      Yeah, they’re desperately trying to head that one off at the pass. The very arguments they are using in the press against Scottish representation in Westminster support a logical move for full devolution of economic powers and clearly some policy wonk has said ‘oh wait now’.

      The promise of the nearest thing to a federal government and home rule would solve all of those problems raised by their excitable media barrage. All they have to do is keep a promise. Removal of Scottish MPs from Westminster, the end of Barnett, all easily had, but then they’re not going to do that are they? No they’ll keep bitching about a too powerful Scottish voice, the West Lothian question and the slashing of Barnett without having to give anything back to the Scottish electorate.

      Cake and eat it springs to mind, yet those self same politicians and their pet media accuse us of being whingers.

      Astonishing. 😮

    163. Snode1965 says:

      These GERS figures are bullshit for the many reasons given on this thread. To put this report in laymans terms I only have to look at my own income tax payments.
      I work for a UK wide distribution company which has 7 depots across UK. In Cumbernauld we employ 400 people. Our wages are paid from Barnsley and therefore also our tax to HM Treasuary!
      That just one factory in Scotland whose tax is lost to English stats.
      How many other Scot pay tax via a head office in England?

    164. galamcennalath says:

      @muttley79

      Indeed. The Vow etc implied an offer of FFA / DevoMax and many gullible people interpretated it that way. Now even the gullible know FFA was never on the cards, and also, FFA s being attacked using all the same anti-independence economic arguments.

      The London Establishment does not want Scotland to have more powers. That is probably a red line for them.

      While I certainly hope we send lots of SNP MPs and there are as few Unionists as possible left, I have serious doubts about extracting meaningful powers from WM?

      The MSM and London politicians attack everything Scottish with three aims …

      – persuade Scots to turn away from aspirational ideas and stick with the Union

      – persuade English voters that SNP meddling at WM is undesirable and even unacceptable

      – sow the seeds of rUK unity at WM against meddlesome Scots.

      More real powers? I’ll believe it when it becomes law!

    165. Graeme Doig says:

      Very lazy post (sorry)

      what Dave McEwan Hill says at 11.57. Sums things up perfectly. Cheers.

    166. james says:

      Ken500

      I think you are muddling deficit with debt. Happens a lot. UK debt just hit £1.5 trillion but debt interest has been falling as government refinance older debt at better interest rates. Scotlands share in GERS has dropped from £3.50bn in 2011-12 to £3.06bn in 2013-14 due to lower interest rates.

    167. Will McEwan says:

      galamcennalath at 12.30

      I hope that lots of people that read this site and who were taken in by talk of FFA and devo max read your post which should help the penny to drop.

      SNP tactic at the moment is to expose the offers as lies not to achieve devo max (whatever that is) and already the offers are being undermined.

      It is entirely possible however that a huge SNP result in May will lead to the concession of more garbled powers which will be economically incoherent and more and more incompatible with a unitary state but the people on both sides of the border will eventually wake up to the fact that independence is the more logical and more practical position and, as they have been lied to about Scotland’s actual real fiscal position in the UK, they will happily see us out.

    168. John says:

      @Dave McEwan Hill at 11:57 – great post.

      @muttley79 – also a great post. Shortly after the referendum, I went to a Yes meeting in Perth (chaired by John Swinney). Before the meeting, I was opposed to Devo Max. I left there a fan.

      The establishment know that, if we get Home Rule, independence or UDI is the next logical step. They will do everything to stop us from proving that we can stand alone.

    169. msean says:

      I always bear in mind that the same group of people who wanted us in the union are the same ones who have been in charge of producing the accounts for decades. Canny have another party that isny in the club seeing the books now, eh?

    170. call me dave says:

      Someone earlier recommended the MacWhirter article which I enjoyed. I posted the Dinwoodie one further up the thread both good.

      https://archive.today/Nolgd

    171. Chic McGregor says:

      Slightly OT. Crap weather today so couldn’t get out to the stone work in the back yard.

      So I thought I would do an update on the top ten GDP PPP per capita countries in Europe.

      GDP PPP per capita, as I’m sure most of you know, is a calculation of the local purchasing power per head of population. So it takes into account the local real cost of goods prices, services and labour etc. It is therefore a much more accurate assessment as to ‘how well off’ a country’s citizens are and is not as subject to exchange rate distortions, and other international pricing variants, as simple GDP per capita.

      Here are the current Top Ten European countries according to the World Bank (2013, these things, especially PPP take a good time to research and assess correctly).

      Note, as usual, the three tiny tax-haven/principalities which always top the table but not for productive reasons and with anomalously small (statistically speaking) populations have been omitted.

      Slightly more contentious is the omission of Iceland, because Iceland’s GDP PPP is due to production of genuine wealth. However, its small population of around 325,000 is also statistically anomalous compared to those on the list and it is for that reason only that I have excluded them.

      Here is the graphic:

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/i5v05xy27gbcmf7/GDPPPPEUR.jpg?dl=0

      Observe that all of the top ten are small Western European countries, similar in size to Scotland, except for Germany.
      (Note I have heard some from the biggest of the small countries, The Netherlands, object to them being described small, so, careful).

      Germany, the only big country in the top ten, has some things which are worth pointing out. First Germany , as a unitary state, is, historically speaking, a new country. Only about 150 years old at most.

      It is a federation of 16 states. The average population of each state is just over 5 million.

      Culturally/economically, there is still a high degree of local pride and mutual loyalty between employers and employees. Whether this is by good design or whether the unitary state has simply not existed long enough to form centralised ‘Black Holes’ like London, who knows? only time will tell.

      Note, the UK does not make it into the Top Ten.

      Another way to look at it is there are NO direct line European state neighbours of Scotland which are NOT on the top ten list.

    172. Robert Peffers says:

      @W Nicoll says:11 March, 2015 at 10:12 pm:


      I know GERS figures are considered sort of official. But do they actually reflect reallity. does all income into Scotland or generqted in Scotland actually appear in the Scottish income figures.”

      The short answer is a resounding, NO.

      I’ll give you just a few of the, “Creative Accounting”, methods the Establishment uses to distort the figures but efforts to list them all would be futile as there are so very many.

      First, above them all, is the wee matter of the Barnett Formula. You know the one they keep telling us gives each Scot a larger per capita share of the United Kingdom’s resources than our bigger, but certainly not better, next door neighbours?

      What they don’t tell, the World at large, is the job that formula is designed to actually do. So I’ll do the explaining for them – Barnett’s Formula is the algorithm brought in to calculate the sums of funding originally paid for by the Establishment’s treasury to cover the costs of the functions they were about to devolve to the then newly formed Scottish Government, The figures were thus based upon a starting point of the average sums spent by Westminster carrying out the those functions before they were devolved to the new Scottish Government.

      So it is rank hypocracy, craven pig ignorance or bare faced lying to claim the Scots receive more per capita funding than either the other two United Kingdom countries with less devolved functions or the big country next door that gets funded as the United Kingdom. It short we do not get extra per capita funding but I suspect we actually get short changed on the costs of running the devolved functions previously run, and financed, by the Establishment.

      Next – The Oil & Gas Revenues – around 95% of which come from Scotland’s Territorial Waters. The Establishment created what amounts to being an imaginary new country of the United Kingdom. They named this new country, “Extra-Regio”Territory and grabbed 100% of it as United Kingdom Earned Revenue. Conveniently forgetting around 95% of it was Scottish territory. Then the Establishment generously, out of the goodness of their great big Unionist hearts, condescended to credit Scotland with providing just 8.4% of that revenue on a per-Capita basis. However the real basis was a geographic basis.

      Now, in short order a few other nice little Establishment earners. 100% of all court and on-the-spot fines levies under the independent Scottish legal system goes directly to the UK treasury.

      The Scottish Crown Estates, that include all rentals earned from the high water mark to the end of the continental shelf limits, are just included with the English Crown Estates and taken by the Treasury.

      Add to all that the fiddled London & England infrastructure funding that should come via England’s DEFRA funding but is often paid for directly from Government Grants and Government Reserves while all of Scotland’s infrastructure is funded from within the Scottish Block Grant. The significance of this is that DEFRA funding is subject to positive Barnett Consequentials but direct Government funding is not – or putting that another way, if not from DEFRA then we Scots are paying for such things as the London Cross-Rail, New London Sewerage System, Refurbishment of all London bus and rail Terminals, all High speed rail links, the London Olympics, The London Dome and a lot more besides.

      Now I’m just scraping the surface here for there is a great many more creative accountancy rip-off if you care to dig a wee bit deeper. Unless, of course, anyone can prove me wrong. Well can anyone do so?

    173. Paula Rose says:

      Chic honey – so the ideal population size for a successful European country is 5-6 million?

    174. Fiona says:

      I don’t really understand the problem which they have claimed to identify in GERS. It is reported that there is a £12.4 billion deficit overall in the Scottish accounts for 2013/14. That is on page one of the report.

      It goes on to say that the current account deficit in Scotland is higher than that in the UK over the period 2009/10 to 2013/14 (5.9% on average when a geographical share of north sea oil revenue is included, compared to 5.4% in the UK as a whole) But the average for the UK as a whole includes 100% of north sea oil revenues. To be comparable should it not show the figures for the rUK with a geographic share of those same revenues? I can’t find those figures in the report.

      Then it goes on to say that the figures for the net fiscal balance improved between 2012/13 and 2013/14. This was primarily because of the privatisation of the Royal Mail, which entailed spending £10 billion to transfer their pension scheme to the public sector: that spending was a one off which caused an increase in the deficit in both the UK and in Scotland. Two questions occur to me: 1. Why did we sell it if it cost us money? I thought the point of selling things was to get money in. Of course it may be that the price was not paid in the same year, and that is likely: perhaps the improvement in the deficit is not just because we did not have to spend that money again, but because we also got the selling price in in 2013/14. Doesn’t say so, however. And it matters because that would also be a one-off, would it not? 2. The cost would not have arisen if we were independent because we would not have privatised it. Since GERS is reporting on what actually happened that is not a direct criticism per se: but it does rather neatly illustrate the point that such figures cannot speak to whether Scotland is viable as a separate nation: because it is predicated on the idea that nothing else will change under independence. That is an ongoing confusion and the whole point of independence is that we can choose to make different decisions. You cannot get an “ought” out of an “is”, as Mr Hume has pointed out. And you cannot predict the future out of the past in this way,either.

      According to GERS, the improvement when North Sea oil is included, which they attribute to the cost of acquiring the Royal Mail pension scheme, is a change from a net fiscal deficit for Scotland in 2012/14 of 9.7% of GDP to 8.1% of GDP in 2013/14. Hardly trivial.

      Nonetheless the report claims that this deficit of 8.1% of GDP is higher than the deficit in the UK as a whole. However that brings me to another problem, which has been mentioned here before. The reduction in the deficit in 2013/14 is lower when north sea oil is included than when it is not. This is because revenue from that source has fallen from £5.2 billion in 2012/3 to £4 billion in 2013/14. That is not due to the fall in the price of oil, for that had not happened when this report was prepared. It is due to an increase in operating costs of 11%: and an increase in investment of 12% in that same period. Investment reduces profit and therefore reduces tax, in the year it is made. And as I understand it, for north sea oil the whole of the investment is deductible from profit in the year it is made. But what seems very clear is that an increase in investment is made in order to increase profit in the future: why else would they do it? This suggests that the companies expect to make money from the North Sea for a long time to come.

      The fall in the price of oil has been big news lately: it is a disaster for Scotland, so they say, and means we cannot afford to go independent. Curiously I do not remember the same hysteria when oil was last at this price. Which was in 2008/9 (it actually fell to $32 a barrel in Dec 2008). The price of oil is very volatile, and that is hardly news. Some analysts say that it will take longer to recover this time around because of an alleged glut in production. Maybe. It seems that the oil companies do not share that view else why the high investment.

      In any case the GERS report shows that Scotland’s GDP is about the same as that for the UK as a whole, when oil revenues are excluded. So any oil revenue is a bonus, and is not a central part of the core economy. The revenue received (as estimated and excluding oil revenue) has been about 8.1% of the UK total from 2009/10 to 2013/14: almost exactly Scotland’s population share.

      Which brings me to the meat of the hysteria we are now seeing: and that is about expenditure. The problem with the deficit is said to be that we spend more on public services than the UK does as a whole, and therefore the fact that we produce as much in onshore industry; tax in precisely the same way; and when oil revenues are included raise more tax per capita than the UK as a whole does not matter: we spend too much.

      This is Ken500’s area of expertise, and he posts about it often. Other commentators have also dealt with this aspect, but there is no harm in reiterating the points made.

      GERS reports that Scotland accounted for 9.2% of total UK public expenditure in 2013/14. As seen above the revenue is 8.1%, in line with population share, when oil revenue is excluded. It is 8.6% when those revenues are included, notwithstanding the fall in oil revenue due to increased operating and investment costs noted above. This amounts to total public sector expenditure in Scotland of £66.4 million. However it has to be remembered that much of this is not directly attributable to Scotland. Much is not recorded for the different parts of the UK and is therefore allocated on a population basis.

      Debt interest accounts for £3 million of Scottish Expenditure in 2013/14, based on the population share (which seems to be 8.3% for this item). There is no breakdown of how the borrowed money is spent, so no way of knowing if Scotland (or the north east of england, or anywhere else) actually gets the money raised by borrowing, on a population basis. Curiously GERS says that the Scottish share of interest should actually be higher, because it should be based on the fact that our public expenditure is higher than the population share: but that presumes that the debt incurred is allocated equally across the UK, does it not? There is no evidence for that at all. About 86% of public expenditure is said to be “identifiable”, leaving 14% which is said to be for the benefit of the UK as a whole. That is about £100 billion. £34 billion of that goes on defense. It is well established that the money spent on defense is not spent in Scotland on a population basis

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-spending-on-defence-sells-scots-short-by-1-9bn-1-2748605

      But the interest payments on the debt are so shared.

      Other things are much the same, with London taking the largest share of much of the unattributed expenditure.

      It is not at all clear to me why debt interest should be apportioned in the way it is because it is perfectly possible to attribute much of the spend directly to the region it is spent in, as the linked article shows

      It is also clear that a comparison of Scottish expenditure with a UK average is pretty much meaningless, even if you stick to so-called “identifiable expenditure”. That is because per capita spend varies very widely between different parts of the country. In 2012/13 the range was from £7638 per head in South East England to £10,876 in Northern Ireland. London got the most in England, at £9435.

      It is the more meaningless because different countries in the UK have different public sector responsibilities: for example water is public in Scotland and Wales, but not in England. Robert Peffers has posted about this many times, as the “extra” spend reflects the different responsibilities through the Barnett formula

      Scotland gets a population share of the costs of bailing out the banks, on the basis that all parts of the UK benefit equally from stabilising the financial system. If you believe “stabilising”is what was done, and that it is a benefit, that is fair enough. But this is not neutral language and I don’t happen to share those beliefs. It is likely that if Scotland had been independent it would not have done those things, because it couldn’t: any more than Iceland could. So we might have done what Iceland did: and Iceland has fared far better than the UK in the event. Again that is not what happened but we cannot extrapolate from that to what might happen in the future.

    175. Chic McGregor says:

      @Paula Rose
      It would seem to be the case. Various studies suggest this from the 60s onwards.

      Basically you have two curves:

      Economy of scale (improves with population size)

      and on the negative side:

      The propensity for bureaucratic growth, corruption, imperialist adventuring (war), media establishmentation (elite controlled propaganda), all inter-related, lead to an overall detrimental effect on average economic performance. Mainly due to the establishment of economic inertia and a right wing anti-holistic strategy.

      The cross over point, comparing countries of similar per capita economic potential (rather than that actually realised) would appear to be around the 5-6 million mark.

    176. Robert Peffers says:

      @Mealer says:11 March, 2015 at 10:14 pm:

      “The question to put to unionists is “why”? If Scotland is a basket case,why? What is it that makes us inferior to other peoples around the world?”

      Thing is, Mealer, There is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with US. (Well apart from the obvious thing, that is). The present problems we suffer from are entirely down to the Establishment of Westminster and the totally inept Unionist numpties that inhabit that terrible place.

      I first realised this as a wee schoolboy in Edinburgh in around 1946. Believe it or not I’ve been campaigning for independence ever since. Even way back then, anyone who took the time and could be bothered to check up on the facts knew beyond any doubt that Scotland was being taken to the cleaners by the Establishment. Think about it for a moment – we had just fought a war and the first soldier to charge up the Normandy beachhead was a Scottish Piper. William, Bill, Millin. (Died August 2010).

      http://www.economist.com/node/16885894

      Fact is that on a per capita basis there were more Scots who died than any other United Kingdom country. The Establishment have been users and abusers of Scots in many ways since 1706/7 and, let’s face it, if we had been a drain upon the English unionists we would not have been in union with England in the first place.

      There are two methods used by the Treasury to defraud the scots downright lies and some rather dubious accountancy practices. If you study the statements that come out of their lying mouths it is quite simple to deduce how they do it.

      My very worst school subject was without doubt mathematics but I can see right through their chicanery. It usually involves either missing out a factor in one side of the calculation but not the other or even only quoting one side of an equation.

      Like this present propaganda exercise by all and sundry on the Unionist side. This claimed Scottish Fiscal Deficit is indeed just such a one sided calculation. A school kid could spot the errors of method employed. How can Scotland be in deficit when the Scots per capita GDP exceeds the funding returned to Scotland minus the proper costs of the non-devolved functions still carried out be Westminster.

      Yet even then they cheat. For example the Foreign office treats the embassies as exclusively English. English Business is allowed to hold business presentations in the United Kingdom Embassies for free but they charge Scottish Business for the same functions yet we pay the same taxes.

      Another is defence contracts where again we pay the same taxes but, on a per capita basis, most defence spending goes to England. Not to mention the 100% oil & gas revenues that are claimed by Westminster and only a per capita share of 8.4% credited as Scottish raised revenue while 95% of the revenue is from Scottish waters.

      They rob us blind and always have done.

    177. Robert Peffers says:

      @CharlieMurphy says:11 March, 2015 at 10:17 pm:

      “GERS actually makes the Scottish budget position look better than it is, because it allocates a population share of UK corporation tax to Scotland, which is clearly nonsense.

      One word, Charles … BALDERDASH!

      You’ll be a fully qualified Accountant then?

      How about the Establishment grabbing 100% of the oil & gas revenues of which around 95% of the stuff is extracted from internationally recognized waters that legally falls under Scottish jurisdiction? They credit it is as coming out of, “Extra-Regio”, Territories. So that is the Establishment admitting it is accounted upon a geographic basis. i.e a territory.

      Yet then, on the other side of the equation, that geographic basis is then transformed and calculate upon a per capita population basis. i.e. it credits only 8.4% as a per capita Scottish earned revenue. Thus the two sides of the calculation cannot be properly balanced.

      The first rule of mathematics is that whatever you do on one side of the equation must also be carried out upon the other side of the equation.

      So, Mr Murphy, you are either very, very stupid, or conversely, you are stupid enough to imagine we Scots are.(and believe me that is just one wee example of how these despicable Establishment people have always treated the people of Scotland.

    178. Robert Peffers says:

      @:dakk says:11 March, 2015 at 10:21 pm:

      “When unionists say to me what would we have done with low oil prices,and they do, I tell them its the best reason there is for fiscal autonomy or independence and controlling our own resources.”

      Very well said, Dakk, but it’s even much more simple than that.

      The Establishment claims all the oil & Gas revenue comes as, “Extra-Regio Territory”, revenue, (i.e. it is thus a, “Geographic”, income on the income side of the calculation.

      Yet on the other side, (outgoings), side of the same calculation they only credit Scotland with earning an 8.4% population based share of that same revenue. i.e. it has suddenly, (and if you will pardon the pun), “Unaccountably”, become based upon a per capita basis.

      Now didn’t your primary school teacher tell you, that when you did sums, you must always do the same operation on both sides of the equation? I’ve been a very long time out of the education system but this old codger remembers how to not only how to do basic maths but how to think through the way to do the calculations.

      Now here comes the really daft bit of the Establishment’s claims – as it is the United Kingdom that takes 100% of the oil & gas revenues it is the United Kingdom that is losing 100% of the revenues – Scotland doesn’t get any of that revenue so cannot lose any of it when the prices fall. In fact even if they did grant us some of it the calculation is not difficult.

      They take 100% but on doing the books allocate 8.4% as Scottish earned income that becomes 100% minus 8.4% = 91.6% so if the price goes down then it is the former Kingdom of England countries losing 91.6% of whatever the total for the year happens to be. All Scotland has lost is 8.4% of the difference between the high and the low price.

    179. Macart says:

      @ Robert Peffers

      Neatly done sir, on all posts. (doffs bunnet) 🙂

    180. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Robert Peffers at 8.33

      That is a fact that has to be reported time and time again. As we have never had the oil revenues our budget obviously can’t be hit if we still don’t get them. It is the UK treasury that is taking the hit on low oil prices

    181. Casper1066 says:

      I didn’t realise just how much of Scotland’s money in VAT is hidden. That every retailer and food shop like Tesco’s etc have their profit processed down south which makes it look like all was spent down there and this money which runs into the millions gets recorded as Westminster’s. It runs into millions just one shop, now multiply it by every store, Princess St etc…All that money would come too Scotland instead of Osborne. All hidden.

    182. Ken500 says:

      The GERS figures is supposed to include VAT, but it is (under) estimated. The figure is reckoned to be much higher. The UK Gov has always said it can’t collect separate figures. Why? At the click of a computer.

      The £54Billion taxes raised in Scotland includes a geographical share of Oil revenues. Official Scottish Gov website. Search GERS bring up the figures. Tables. More important is the affect of the UK taxation/fiscal policies which affects the Oil sector and loses Scotland revenues. Too high tax regime etc.

      Official UK Gov shows figure of taxes raised in UK £466Billion. Less £54Billion raised in Scotland = £412Billion + £90Billion borrowed and spent = £502Billion. Less pro rata than Scotland raises.
      Scotland gets back £35Billion + £15Billion pension/benefits + £3Defence + £1Billion = £54Billion.

      What is the £12Billion Deficit? Where are the accounts. The figures do not make sense. The claim of higher public spending in Scotland means there must be higher public spending on the private sector in the rest of the UK.

    183. Chic Thomson says:

      GERS 2013/2014.
      Is that the latest Sevco?

    184. Will Podmore says:

      GERS’ headline figures showed that –

      [EDITED BY REVSTU: Will, I have no idea why you think the laws on paragraph breaks don’t apply to you, but much as I like to encourage civilised dissenting views they fucking well do. Follow the rules or your posts will get deleted the same as anyone else’s.]

    185. Will Podmore says:

      The headline figures showed that, excluding oil, Scottish onshore tax revenue was £50bn in 2013-14 – £300 less per head than the UK average at £9,400 per person.
      Including a geographic share of oil revenues, tax revenues rose to £54bn: £400 above the UK per capita average at £10,100 per person.
      Total Scottish and UK government expenditure in Scotland, however, stood at £66.4bn – £12,500 per head.
      These figures established the case that remaining in the UK allowed Scotland’s higher rates of public spending to be cushioned against fluctuations in oil income and onshore economic performance through the Barnett formula.

      Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury,said: “Today’s figures show that Scotland’s borrowing was £800 per head higher than the UK average last year: that’s £800 more that an independent Scotland would have to tax every man, woman and child. They’ve also nearly doubled the 2012-13 figure from £500 per head to £900, meaning that [the SNP’s] own estimates were dangerously wrong throughout the referendum campaign.”



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