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The Great Gingerbread Robbery

Posted on November 02, 2013 by

When you’re a full time carer, managing to get out for an hour or so to the local branch of Morrisons to get the weekly shopping counts as ‘quality me time’. It allows me to stock up on favourite munchies and comfort food. I like a wee slice of Kirriemuir gingerbread, slathered with butter. The other half enjoys a thick slab of it in a bowl, covered in Devon custard with a dollop of double cream. Bugger the cholesterol.

But the other day there was none in the usual aisle, just a pile of Christmas cakes.


I asked a guy stocking shelves where they’d moved it to. He apologised, and told me there wasn’t any in stock. All the ordering is done by Head Office down in England he said, and they’d sent instructions that no more would be ordered until the New Year in order to make space for piles of Christmas cake. In October.

Who eats Christmas cake in October anyway?

He added that the store manager had been on the phone to them, explaining that cholesterol-laden grumpy auld gits throughout Scotland buy a lot of Kirriemuir gingerbread, and they moan a lot when they can’t get it. We sell a lot of it here, the shelf-stacking guy assured me. But Head Office in England was insistent that we really want to eat Christmas cake for the next three months.

Supermarkets account for a large chunk of weekly expenditure, especially in low income households, like those of the typical carer and cared for. Every penny that is spent in a Scottish supermarket belonging to one of the large UK chains – like Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys, or, if you’re posh, M&S – generates VAT revenue for the UK Treasury that is identified as originating from the company’s head office, which is most often in London or the South East of England. It doesn’t count as Scottish revenue, despite the fact it’s a tax paid on sales in Scotland.

Since it doesn’t count as Scottish revenue, none of this money is credited to Scotland in the UK Government’s GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland) figures, the figures upon which much of the argument about Scotland’s economic viability is based, and which Westminster uses to tell us how poor we are.

Even on the UK’s skew-you statistics, Scotland is doing better than Better Together would like to acknowledge, but an independent Scotland’s finances would be even healthier, and by a considerable margin. The truth is that the GERS figures are about as realistic as the financial forecasts Craig Whyte made for the other Gers.

By way of example, the sales of Kirriemuir gingerbread in supermarkets mean that the revenues of an independent Scotland would be rather higher than the GERS figures give us credit for.


In an independent Scotland, tax due on all sales or profits generated in Scotland would be paid to the Scottish Treasury. The 50p VAT on your Toilet Duck from Morrisons supermarket is an additional 50p that would go to the Scottish budget over and above the official statistics currently being bandied about by the UK Treasury. The 50p would no longer be tax income originating from a head office in London. It would be tax income originating from the company’s offices in Scotland.

A bottle of Toilet Duck here and a packet of wet wipes there adds up. So just how much is Scotland being shortchanged? Finding out the exact figure would take a crack team of forensic accountants on speed, but we can get a rough idea. Let’s have a wee look at the largest UK retail chain, Tesco.

During the last financial year, 2012/13, Tesco reported UK sales of £48,216,000,000. Much of this is food which is not liable for VAT. On my last trip to the supermarket, around 15% of the amount spent was on non-food items, and so liable for VAT. That’s as good an estimate as any in order to work out some rough calculations.

(I couldn’t be bothered adding in the chocolate biscuits. In what universe is a McVities chocolate digestive a “luxury”? It could only be in a country where a spare room for a disabled person’s wheelchair, walking frame and bathroom equipment is classed as a luxury for people on benefits – oh, right.)

But let’s lean over backwards to give George and the Treasury the benefit of any doubt. With a standard VAT rate of 20%, and assuming zero-rated food items make up 85% of Tesco’s turnover, this means the company forwards roughly £1.44 billion annually in VAT to George Osborne’s account books.

This figure doesn’t include other taxes paid by Tesco to the UK Treasury, such as corporation tax. The company says that it paid a total of £1.5 billion in direct taxation to the Exchequer in 2012/13, a figure which includes corporation tax, property taxes etc, but doesn’t include VAT payments.

All this money is counted by the UK Treasury as revenue originating from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, just beyond the boundary of Greater London, where the company’s head office is located and its tax returns are filed.

The revenues which the UK Treasury regards as originating from the company’s head office were generated by its 3146 stores across the UK. Tesco traditionally has a smaller presence in Scotland than in England, where most of its stores are located.

(However Tesco has many more “Express” and “Metro One Stop” outlets in England. These are much smaller than the company’s main supermarkets and therefore do not generate the same amount of revenue for the company or the taxman.)

According to the company’s submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on alcohol, it has “over” 126 stores in Scotland. Let’s say 128, then.

Getting out the back of a fag packet so we can make some rough calculations, and with the additional assumption that Tesco’s Scottish stores each generate the same average revenue as stores elsewhere in the UK, this gives us a ballpark figure of £1.44bn VAT + £1.5bn direct taxation x (128 Scottish stores/3146 UK stores) – working out at £119 million annually in tax payments to the UK Treasury from sales and profits generated by Tesco operations in Scotland.

(Since a higher proportion of the Scottish stores are the larger supermarket branches, this is probably a conservative estimate.)


By way of comparison, Tesco Ireland has 137 stores in the Irish Republic. The Irish arm of the business is roughly the same size as Tesco in Scotland. Tesco Ireland generates a total of €3.07bn (£2.64bn) in sales annually. The standard rate of VAT in Ireland is 23%.

Assuming the same 85% figure for zero rated food items, this means that Tesco Ireland forwards around €105 million (£90.3m) annually to the Irish Government in VAT alone.  At the 20% VAT rate in force in Scotland, Tesco’s retail sales in Ireland would generate €92.1m (£78.6m) annually in VAT revenues for the Irish Government. This figure does not include the other taxes that the company pays to the Irish Treasury.

Our estimate of £119m for the total potential Scottish revenues from Tesco is likely to considerably underestimate the true figure, because it includes several other taxes as well as VAT. More realistically, the total due in VAT alone to an independent Scottish Treasury from Tesco operations in Scotland would be similar to the Irish figure, probably greater than £78.6 million annually.

Since the total in other taxes paid by Tesco to the UK Government is greater than our deliberately low estimates for VAT, the true figure for the taxes Tesco would pay in an independent Scotland is certainly well over the £140 million mark. At the moment, Scotland is not credited with a penny of this amount.

Remember, this is the hidden Scottish revenue from just one supermarket chain. What applies to Tesco applies equally to Morrisons, Asda and all the rest. It also applies to M&S, Top Shop, John Lewis, and the other retail chains on our high streets and in our shopping centres. Together these companies make sales in Scotland worth billions of pounds annually, and the billions they generate for the UK Treasury are filed in tax returns from their head offices, which are usually in London.

There are other ways in which Scottish revenues are invisible in the official statistics. Much of the alcohol duty paid by our whisky industry is not counted as revenue from Scotland. Alcohol produced in the UK which is exported abroad becomes subject to UK alcohol duty at the point of export, and a large proportion of Scotland’s multibillion whisky exports gets shipped out from ports in England. The UK Treasury counts the duty levied on this whisky as income from the tax region in which the port is situated.

Billions of pounds of Scottish revenue is magicked away in the official statistics, and doesn’t count as Scottish revenue. It masquerades as revenue from other parts of the UK, most commonly as revenue from London. In total, the extra revenues which don’t currently figure in the GERS stats, but would accrue to an independent Scottish Treasury, would likely be larger than the entire annual income from the North Sea.

This is why Project Fear is ramping up the hysteria. Scotland generates far more for the UK Government than it wants to admit to.

No doubt in an independent Scotland the supermarkets would still insist on starting Christmas in September, but at least the revenues and taxation they generate would go to the Scottish budget, and count as income for the Scottish Government, to be spent in Scotland and on her population. More importantly, we’d be able to buy Kirriemuir gingerbread all year round.


The original version of this piece appeared on the splendid Wee Ginger Dug.

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2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 18 02 14 20:07

    More fiddling the figures. | iainbblog

  2. 26 08 14 11:36

    (It is likely that…) Independence will bring a bigger dividend than even the Yes campaign predict | The Science of Independence

214 to “The Great Gingerbread Robbery”

  1. creigs1707repeal says:

    @ Stu
    Hi Rev,
    Is this £1.44 billion annual VAT payment the nett payment (inputs less outputs)?
    YES Scotland

  2. farrochie says:

    Westminster takes all Scotland’s revenues: Corporation Tax, VAT, Income Tax, NICs, Petroleum Revenue Tax, Alcohol. Fuel, Tobacco, Road Fund duties. In return, we are given a “grant” and a “say” in our big decisions.

    A say of 59 MPs out of 650. In the present circumstances, just 12 MPs (1 Tory and 11 Libs)represent us in the Coalition.

  3. Abigdoob says:

    The part about alcohol duty is wrong. Exports are duty free, so zero duty or vat accrues to HMRC. However a vast amount is warehoused in England for release onto the UK market including Scotland, and this is subject to duty & vat, which would be counted as non Scottish revenue.

  4. Murray McCallum says:

    I guess the same applies to insurance premium tax? That must add up to a few Pibrochs as Kirsty Wark would say.

  5. kininvie says:

    Christmas! You’d better clean that up before the Rev gets back from the shops. Else your fate will be horrible!

  6. Heather McLean says:

    I’ve been saying this all along, no one thinks to add in the amount of tax revenue generated by big UK companies in Scotland, but whose head offices are in England so thanks for articulating this excellent article Paul!  But why stop at supermarkets, what about Debenhams, Next, British Home Stores, Specsavers, Monsoon, Primark to name but a very few of all the big high street chain stores!

    But of course on becoming Independent all these stores will immediately cease to trade in Scotland?? Aye Right!!

    The more you think about the minutae of day to day living in Scotland from where we buy the clothes we wear and  the food we eat,  the more it becomes startlingly apparent that we are being short changed right left and centre!

  7. Graeme McCormick says:

    As these supermarkets provide the bulk of English exports to Scotland and are the paymasters of the main UK political parties and in the Coop case keeps the Labour Party afloat , there will be a common currency. Otherwise Lidl, Aldi and others will clean up.

  8. In other words we’re getting robbed blind.  A summarised version for a leaflet would be good.

  9. Andy-B says:

    Excellent piece Paul.
    Hidden revenue I was barely aware of, and to think those taxes go south along with all the rest, another nail in the pro-unionists coffin, of the cannae dae it club.
    Incidently I like the gingerbread with the icing on it, lovely jubbly..Hmmm!

  10. handclapping says:

    They added the ginger so you’ld never notice the flour was rotten. Very British attitude to food safety – let them eat gingerbread!

  11. mr thms says:

    Here is a link to the article.
    “28th October 2013:  This is an amended and corrected version of the original article, after it was pointed out to me that like the Kirriemuir Gingerbread crazed eejit that I am, I had forgotten that food in the UK is not liable for VAT.  It was the withdrawal symptoms that made me do it.”

  12. orkers says:

    Of course everyone’s forgetting about the Union benefits that accrue towards our general standards of living, strutting about on the World stage/punching above our weight, alleviation of child poverty and so on?
    Aren’t you?

  13. Hazel Lewry says:

    Nice article Paul. Sharing it widely!

  14. King of Dál Riata says:

    Excellent article…

    I hope a YES also leads to an explosion of Scottish produce lining the shelves again…. Tomatoes being a good example.

    Why we are ‘forced’ to buy/eat that water injected muck that the buyers from all the major supermarkets think passes as fruit?

    Look at the revival of Clyde Valley Tomatoes … 
    They deserve a contract with a major Scottish supermarket….  anyone fancy a ‘Willie Low’ revival

    Greenhouse owners for Independence say…. ‘Vote Yes’

  15. Alex Grant says:

    Why can’t one of the expert accountants or economists in the Scottish government or indeed in academia give us a Gers plus number to blow Westminster out of the water? To refute the claim they would have to provide data which they are currently hiding?
    this is critical given the most recent Wings/Panelbase survey telling us “it’s the economy stupid” that’s going to sway the undecideds?????

  16. call me dave says:

    Certainly a rich vein to explore in establishing exactly how the books might balance.  I’m like other posters here in believing that the GERS figures only give raw information in the form of an indication which is to our benefit in Scotland.  The actual figures can only be seen as an improvement in our prospects.
    The Yes campaign & the SNP should be (and the might be soon) setting them out for the voters to see and read. 
    Once YES wins the day I’ll be right down to my local shops for the things I’m not getting
    Tunnocks Carmel Wafers.    Baxters Beetroot &  Mackies ice cream.  🙂

  17. Atypical_Scot says:

    Sir Tom Farmer opened the first Kwik Fit centre in McDonald Road, Edinburgh. – wikipedia.
    Kwik fit HQ
    Kwik Fit FleetKwik-Fit (GB) LimitedETEL HouseAvenue OneLetchworth Garden CityHertfordshireSG6 2HU

  18. Atypical_Scot says:

    Too late to edit bad address. Kwik Fit’s UK profits last year were £56 million there is VAT charged on the spares they provide.

  19. patronsaintofcats says:

    Makes me wonder about online trading as well – how does that work?
    FYI ever since reading the original story on Paul’s blog I’ve been craving Kerriemuir Ginger Bread, which apparently I won’t be able to buy now until January 2014. Thanks a lot Head Office in England *grrrrrr*

  20. Xaracen says:

    This is all adding billions to the plus side of Scotland’s balance sheet. So I have a question.
    Since it seems pretty clear from this and other articles that Scotland more than pays her way in the UK and by a large margin that is getting even larger the more these matters are delved into, then why is she expected to take on any of the UK’s debt, or even pay a per capita share of the UK’s debt interest payments? If Scotland didn’t benefit from the borrowed money in any demonstrable way, how can any of it be reckoned as Scotland’s debt?
    Am I missing something?

  21. Albalha says:

    Thanks for the article, very imformative. Have to admit, as someone who mainly grew up in Angus, I’ve never heard of this Kirriemuir delicacy, shame on me.

  22. .Tattiehowker says:

    ALL  the leased cars in Scotland, who gets credited with the road tax.

  23. Jingly Jangly says:

    Remember re spirits, most if not all the gin made in the UK is now distilled in Scotland, the duty on the Scottish gin market must be a few million as well….

    Also I estimate about 2.5 billion worth at current rates for fuel tax incl Vat on petrol and diesel sold in Scotland per year. I don’t know if that is included in the GERS report , anybody know?

  24. Albalha says:

    And yet another typo too much typing today, informative, tsk.

  25. Alba4Eva says:

    Sorry if this has been posted.  LOL 🙂

  26. Craig P says:

    Ah, so that’s who Wee Ginger Dug is! Nice article Paul 🙂

  27. Seanair says:

    Graeme McCormick
    Re Co-op bank, I’m sorry to hear tonight that 1000 workers are to lose their jobs. It seems that some hedge funds have bought into the company. Can’t see THEM giving the heavily indebted Labour Party any favours so could be squeaky bum time for Milliband? 

    giving the heavily indebted Labour Party special favours

  28. scottish_skier says:

    Sorry if this has been posted.  LOL
    Hope the BBC covered the loyalist orange order march on at the same time. For balance I mean.

  29. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

  30. Ian Brotherhood says:

    …and if we’re on the subject of robbery? Greg Moodie, superb, as always:

  31. seoc says:

    @ petrol sales tax.
    Remember that when VAT came on the scene, Westminster did not remove the purchase tax element of the price and blithely added VAT to that total.
    We have been getting ripped off big time by these rogues.
    @ Kirriemuir gingerbread.
    If Morrisons does not stock your item, move your entire shopping to a company who does not act as if they own you.
    Try Aldi – at the very least your cash will stretch about one third further.

  32. orkers says:

    ‘giving the heavily indebted Labour Party special favours’.
    Not to mention a well known football club from the East End of Glasgow.

  33. annie says:

    This is the problem we face, BT would like us all to think that the only tax generated in Scotland is the paye on the workers payslip.  While it is obvious to many this is nonsense it really needs to be spelt out to some of the doubters that we can afford to go it alone.

  34. Edward says:

    Just to help understand what ‘foods’ is subject to VAT
    The following from HMRC
    Food and drink for human consumption is, in general, zero-rated but many items are standard-rated, including alcoholic drinks, confectionery, crisps and savoury snacks, hot food, sports drinks, supplies of food made in the course of catering including hot takeaways, ice cream, soft drinks and mineral water.

  35. annie says:

    Re. the spoof video above I can’t believe they went to the trouble – some people have too much time on their hands.

  36. AnneDon says:

    Excellent article Paul.  This is actually how Melanie and Trevor, the Phillips twins, make stupid claims about London subsidising the rest of the UK.
    We live in such a massively over-centralised state that all companies put their HO’s in London, so their directors are treated seriously by the Stock Market;  so, regardless of where the money is made, it looks like London’s earnings.
    A decentralised state would quickly show the privileged classes in London how little their city earns.  Especially now that they are decanting their working classes around the country.

  37. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    Dont get me started! What about Aunt Bessies Oven Chips? Probably the best tasting, best looking brand in FarmFoods freezers. Always sold out but now discontinued. I complained bitterly but the answer was…..’Head Office decided’ Well FU head office because I do not shop for anything at your piss poor public awareness shoppie anymore.
    Kirriemuir gingerbread sounds like a better option. Perhaps a wee soak in something out of a sherry bottle, or any bottle, beforehand will chase away the winter blues. 🙂

  38. Hetty says:

    Great article, will be sharing it for sure. I pop into M n S ( not posh quite the opposite,  it’s just handy) for bread and beer occasionally, they have dozens of bottled beers, only one from Scotland, which is the one I buy! I have wondered why, when there are so many fab Scottish beers. It’s not the only incidence of there seeming to be a lack of Scottish produce in the big stores.

  39. Edward says:

    Also note that ALL imports from outside the EU are subject to VAT at standard rate of 20%. VAT on imports is calculated on the value of the goods plus any Duty that’s liable. It should be noted that all VAT, as with Duty goes straight to HM treasury
    Now its difficult to work out the actual figures as HMRC RTS data, being based on ports and airports of arrival (as with exports) is completely and utterly skewed as it does not provide data based on the traders. A large chunk of imports for Scotland is processed through English ports and airports. In an independent Scotland the imports would still arrive at English ports, but would not clear as they do at present. So any VAT and Duty would be payable in Scotland

  40. Hetty says:

    Love the film that Alba4eva posted, ‘what goes round comes round’, thanks I needed a laugh, it’s very funny in the context of the bt one recently.

  41. Alex Taylor says:

    @ annie
    I’m glad they did. It made my day slightly brighter!
    And trouble?

  42. Edward says:

    All energy (Gas/Electricity) consumed is subject to 5.0% VAT, which of course goes straight to HM Treasury
    For further information see link

  43. liz says:

    “Alba4Eva – god I’m dim, I saw this earlier and thought it was real.

  44. callum says:

    example of “doublespeak”:
    a) Scotland can’t afford to be independent from the UK
    actually means, b) Westminster can’t afford for Scotland to be independent.

  45. Davy says:

    Bloody hell, wer’e RICH.
    Pass the gingerbread, make mine a double with everything.
    Vote Yes, Vote Scotland.

  46. john king says:

    Edward says
    “n an independent Scotland the imports would still arrive at English ports, but would not clear as they do at present. So any VAT and Duty would be payable in Scotland”
    In transit Edward, the produce would no more show up as an import in English receipts than if it went through France, Germany etc before reaching its final destination.

  47. Edward says:

    That’s correct John King, the process would be in transit, something that I’m quite familiar with as international shipping and logistics is what I do 😉

  48. john king says:

    Anne says
    “Re. the spoof video above I can’t believe they went to the trouble – some people have too much time on their hands.”
    But it seems you’ve no concern about the BBC spending YOUR  money for a piece just as ridiculous?
    how much did that spoof cost you?

  49. john king says:

    Edward says
    “That’s correct John King, the process would be in transit, something that I’m quite familiar with as international shipping and logistics is what I do”
    So why do you see a question as to where the import/export would show up ?

  50. Fairliered says:

    Hetty. If you want Scottish bottled beers, go to Aldi!

  51. Les Wilson says:

    Yes, this is something I have been going on about for a while. Also, as I am a widower having now, to get my own stuff in, I am constantly looking through shelves to find Scottish produce, there is little to find. Something here and there, but a tiny percentage of all the products there. 
    There is little thought of buying locally ie Scotland in their minds. They, however sure keep all the English suppliers busy.
    It is not good enough at all. But it makes the fact that border trade being badly effected by Indy, a complete joke. They would be damaging all the English companiesthat supply Scotland, at present.
    We get better representation by Aldi and Lidl , yes German companies buy more from US than these English “Super chains ” They have more of our produce on their shelves, a higher percentage of their products. 
    I would like to think that beside the tax situation which you put very well, after Indy our suppliers would get a better crack of the whip. That would mean our suppliers gearing up, employing more people etc etc. The Scottish Government should insist that a percentage of produce on sale should be Scottish sourced.
    Charity begins at home, so to speak.

  52. Albert Herring says:

    Lidl is very good for Scottish produce. Also MUCH cheaper than the English supermarkets.

  53. sandy armstrong says:

    Tax revenue aside what angers me about the big supermarkets is the total lack of Scottish produce available on the shelves in England whereas Scotland is a dumping ground for British(English) meat, cheese, butter  veg and just about everything else.
     And there is also the total disregard for the names we call things as in  we call a swede a turnip but they insist on  labeling it the English way and Tesco now calling tattie scones “cakes“.
     All petty sounding i know but there is a subtle erosion of all things Scottish and a younger generation will grow up not knowing any better eventually  calling a loch a “lock.“

  54. Famous15 says:

    What goes around comes around? Brilliant. Humour beats visceral hatred every time. Btw was the new Longstone Sainsbury better than the Coop Up the street?

  55. john king says:

    Sandy Armstrong says
    “we call a swede a turnip ”
    I think you mean they call a turnip a swede don’t you? 😉

  56. Tony Little says:

    If I recall correctly, Naill Aslen (the accountant who looked at GERS in – I think – 2000 and 2006) stated that he would have another go near to the referendum.  Does anyone know if that was ever followed up?  It would be good to have his analysis as final ammunition.  
    For those interested, his two articles were “The Big Lie” and “The Great Obfuscation” and should still be available online.  It was, as I recall, quite detailed and “accountancy” in tone, but readable nonetheless.
    I can not recall now his exact conclusion (i.e. exactly how much Scotland is “short-changed” by GERS), but in both cases it was clear that the GERS mechanism, which is NOT a Scottish Government system – they follow the Westminster/Treasury guidelines, understates the income that is accumulated in Scotland, and overestimates the ‘costs’ on Scotland.  No surprise there.
    Not to distract from this article, Paul, which is a timely reminder that we will never get the truth via “our” media, and the YES campaign need to find some way to get these messages out to the electorate. 

  57. Tris says:

    Excellent piece, and a point I have long been arguing.
    I think I saw some of that Gingerbread in Sainsbury the other day.

  58. Kev says:

    Domestic gas & electricity is subject to 5% vat but for business premises it is standard rated.
    Of-course, gingerbread is zero rated as it is considered a “cake”, but if your child fancied a gingerbread man, then it all starts getting a bit complicated – if it has no more chocolate on it than just 2 dots for eyes then its zero rated but stick on a smile and some buttons and it becomes standard rated… and youd think the folks at HMRC would have better things to do like track down the big corporate tax avoiders, which are estimated to be costing us £25bn a year…

  59. Manic Monday says:

    Are you sure VAT is not included in GERS figures?
    This link seems to indicate otherwise.

  60. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    To all
    the LibDems also bank with the Co-op.

  61. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “This link seems to indicate otherwise.

    Readers! Please don’t post 90-page documents as evidence of a claim and expect people to read all 90 flipping pages to find out what bit you’re referring to.

  62. annie says:

    John King – and why would you think I have no concern about the BBC spending my money on the other spoof video – did you ask me or just assume?

  63. mr thms says:

    Is this what you are looking for Rev?
    “A spreadsheet containing both GERS and HMRC estimates for 2011-12 is available here.  It also provides an adjustment of HMRC estimates for income tax and VAT to improve comparability with GERS.”

  64. Alex McLellan says:
    Appendix A on Page 70 (numbered 67)
    VAT is included.
    However, note that the ONS methodology seems to favour the head office address. There is a byzantine calculation involving the VAT distribution of a certain number of UK wide businesses which is supposed to give a “correct” result but it still puts too much at the head office address.

  65. HandandShrimp says:

    Apologies if this has been discussed but has anyone else had a look at the BBC consultation document for the referendum?

  66. James D says:

    And if all that was in our own currency, not “Pibrochs” of course – copyright @ Kirsty Wark ruined that possible name, but maybe Scots Shillings.
    Interesting article on “A truly independent Scotland, issuing its own currency” discussed here –
    This article –
    Keeping the Pound is fine for immediate post Independence, but I’d like to see our own currency asap afterwards.

  67. Morag says:

    Keeping the pound is pretty much essential for immediate post-indepedence, for quite a lot of reasons.  What happens after that will be up to the government elected in 2016.  I’d prefer that government to look dispassionately at the situation at that time, and propose the best solution.  Not pre-judge what that best solution might be.
    Suppose it was clear sterling was going to tank if Scotland withdrew from the currency union.  Would that be to our advantage?  For the currency of our nearest neighbour and biggest trading partner to be seriously damaged?  Might not be such a good idea overall.  I don’t know.  I’m keeping an open mind myself.

  68. HandandShrimp says:

    In the past we had marks, groats, pistoles, dollars, ryals, ducats, shillings, crowns and unicorns as well as pounds. We have a lot to choose from.

  69. Marcia says:

    In tomorrow’s Sunday Herald
    Exclusive tomorrow: new report counters Westminster claims that independence would leave Scotland’s defences weak.

  70. Edward says:

    Hi Kev, well spotted. Yes there is a myriad of variances with HMRC rates structures on VAT and even Duties, levies etc. It does confuse them at times. The problem is that over the years, various politicians/governments have put their oar in and instead of streamlining have simply just added a bit here an there. The other aspect that they are not keeping up with technology, in terms of new innovations in products that are being imported or exported so setting the appropriate commodity coding becomes fun (not). I diverse. HMRC in general do suffer from staff understaffing due to previous and present government cut backs. which explains in part as to why the monolith that is HMRC (remember this is a merged department of Customs  & Excise and Inland Revenue – Government cost cutting…) , just cant cope regardless of what politicians tell you. There is more money going to accountants to work out tax avoidance on Corp Tax than there is going into HMRC!

  71. theycan'tbeserious says:

    And we have poverty, food banks and evictions here in 21st century Scotland whilst these bastards in London gloat and vote themselves another pay increase and or another tax cut. Better together…aye right!

  72. KillieBoab says:

    Re: mentions above of Aldi and Scottish beer makes it necessary for me to highlight my shopping trip to the said German grocer today. They have just started a Scottish beer festival to promote ales from 21 small native brewers. My selection, to accompany my reading of these pages, are from Ayr, St Andrews, Oban, Jedburgh and Borrheid.

  73. GrutsForTea says:

    From now on I’m only going to shop at tYESco.

  74. Stevie says:

    Someone needs to do the sums on this completely.

  75. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @theycan’tbeserious –
    If anyone else has made a case for Independence in 34 words, I haven’t seen it.

  76. sannymac says:

    This is a very valid comment! However in calculating how much Scotland contributes to Westminster I suggest those interested read the papers by Niall Aslen. In particular read his first rant on the GERS Report and the follow up on contacts with the papers and the Treasuary. One piece that sticks in my mind was the cost of London Courts being classed as a Scottish Expenditure!!. Then we ahould all read the two subsequent GERS Reports that Niall commented on.

  77. Kev says:

    Hi Edward, I agree with you and I am one of those ratbag accountants! Were not quite as bad as lawyers I don’t think, but my wish post independence is for a far more simplified tax system and there is certainly plenty of room for it, considering UK tax law is some 17,000 pages long. This is so burdensome  for us that in most complex cases on VAT or CGT we call on advice from tax experts in these fields (and these are the guys who charge the big bucks).
    HMRC as they currently stand are not fit for purpose – 64,500 employees but they take on average 2 months to reply to a letter, and half the time are unreachable by phone. You are right, instead of a much needed overhaul governments just add more and more red tape, so their IT systems can’t cope, they cant update their systems all at once, leading to threatening tax reminders being sent out to folk who have already submitted their returns!
    Im sure Scotland will learn huge lessons from HMRC’s blunders and  bloated tax system, and hopefully deliver a more simplified system that folk can understand, Im sure Swinney has got exactly this in mind…

  78. Marcia says:

    Sunday Herald front page

    Mrs Graham on front page

  79. Edward says:

    Hi Kev, Yes I was amused to see you were a bean counter 😉
    Totally agree that with an independent Scotland the opportunity is there to streamline the tax management structure.

  80. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Sunday Herald front page
    Mrs Graham on front page”

    Sweet dreams, readers!

  81. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Marcia & Rev –
    Aye, ‘cheers’.
    Those teeth remind me of the last tenement block in the Gorbals, shortly before it was demolished.

  82. Appleby says:

    I see on the frong page of the papers today that South Ayrshire council have now decided to threaten parents with child snatching. A friendly bunch voted in there.
    A pity the paper neglected to mention the parties involved and only used names. If it was SNP politicians involved then we can be sure it would be trumpeted loudly.

  83. call me dave says:

    The Record has it as a Tory led council.  Aye right!
    For those who haven’t seen Mr Halliday’s post on Bateman.

  84. Robert Kerr says:

    Sweet dreams indeed.
    Halitosis and cheep scent.
    compare and contrast Mrs Graham and Christine Lagarde
    The stuff of nightmares.
    Good night

  85. Hetty says:

    Thanks, that’s good to know, will get to Aldi on me bike one day! Cheers.

  86. Monty Carlow says:

    Looking at the GERS figures, I don’t think the VAT ascribed to Scotland looks unreasonable, being not far off our population share.  I  haven’t looked in to the methodology, but perhaps adjustments have been made to counteract the problems suggested in the article?
    Of more significance, in my view, is the fact that the GERS figures allocate a proportionate share (in terms of population) of interest on the national debt, despite the fact that we have had a healthier fiscal balance than the rest of the UK, and hence accrue less debt.   I have had a go at determining the effect of this.  What would the position be if, using the same revenue and expenditure data, Scotland had maintained its own finances?
    What I have done is go back over the GERS figures to 1980, which is the starting point for the GERS data.  That is also the date when Scotland might have become independent if the SNP’s momentum in the 1970s had continued.     In 1980, the national UK debt was £98 billion, and suppose Scotland started with its population share of it – about £9 billion.
    Looking at the UK data, I can replicate the 2012 debt of about £1.1 trillion.  Our population share would be about £90 billion.    If I do the same for Scotland on the basis of the GERS figures, this reduces to less than £60 billion.  But this still presumes that Scotland takes a population share of the entire UK debt interest.
    If I make adjustments so that our annual debt interest reflects only our own accrued debt, the position is radically different.  We end up with an accrued surplus of £230 billion.
    So instead of a £230 billion surplus, we have a £90 billion debt – another union dividend.

  87. Jamie Arriere says:

    OT Interesting if diplomatic comments about Scottish independence by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK ambassador to the UN – that small countries with powerful leaders or representatives can have more influence than big countries with weak leaders.

  88. Ken Johnston says:

    I hope the White paper will go into all this. And I would like, said this before, to find out the spectrum of what we,as a nation, produce, manufacture, export, mine, quarrie, code, bio-engineer, a damned big list with financials attached.
    As a sort of add-on to the article, a few months ago we were getting new carpets, so I got an estimator from a well known carpet company, based in Ingerland to do it. Turned out he was English, been here since 1988, so I asks ‘how are you feeling about’ you know what.
    He says he was going to vote No, and the reason is, he has shares in his company, and the Scottish branch was the only one to make a loss. European, Irish were ok. No here, therefore that was Scotland in microcosm. I suspect a bit of financial wangling, however I did not want to make a big thing of it at the time.

  89. Morag says:

    1980, which is the starting point for the GERS data.  That is also the date when Scotland might have become independent if the SNP’s momentum in the 1970s had continued.
    Interesting calculation, but I’m struggling to see how we might have managed to become independent by 1980.  If the result of the 1979 referendum had been honoured, it would have been a stretch to have got the devolved parliament set up in the Royal High by 1980, never mind achieved independence.

    Most commentators suggest it would have been the reaction of Scotland to Thatcherism and in particular the poll tax that would have precipitated events.  Having a parliament an thus a mechanism to do something, a push for independence would have had a means of expression.

    I think the early 1990s would have been the realistic time frame.

  90. The Man in the Jar says:

    Hi-Ya WGD!

  91. Monty Carlow says:

    Interesting calculation, but I’m struggling to see how we might have managed to become independent by 1980.  If the result of the 1979 referendum had been honoured, it would have been a stretch to have got the devolved parliament set up in the Royal High by 1980, never mind achieved independence
    In the 1970s, the aim was to achieve independence by electing 36 SNP MPs out of Scotland’s 71 Westminster seats.  There was no talk of referenda for independence in that era – it was accepted by nationalists and their opponents that the election of an SNP majority in Scotland was sufficient.  Had things not turned around the time of Dewar’s election in Garscadden, that may well have been achieved.

    I remember in the late 70s there was a BBC program/series called something like “Scotland 1980”, which actually considered and discussed what the realistic prospect of an independent Scotland would look like in 1980, if it came about.  Does anyone remember it?

  92. Morag says:

    I remember a “What If” programme on Radio 4 that was sort of along those lines, but it was predicated on there being a Scottish assembly to act as a focus of discontent and a fulcrum for action when the excesses of Thatcherism began to bite.
    I’m not sure the 36 MPs thing was ever actually realistic, but I take your point, it’s a theoretical way it might have happened.

  93. Gus says:

    VAT and other “hidden” taxes are included in the GERS report. They are estimates based on the UK total and the methodologies can be found here:
    There are 43 pages detailing how each value is calculated.
    If a biscuit has chocolate on it (like a chocolate digestive) then VAT is only applicable to the value of the chocolate, the biscuit value is exempt. If the biscuits are sold in a tin then VAT is applied to the cost of the tin.

  94. Monty Carlow says:

    The program I am thinking of was a TV program – a sort of studio discussion format.  I was a bit too young to follow it.
    The 36 MP target was quite close.  The SNP had polled about 30% in 1974, but only 11 seats, being victimised at that level by First-past-the-post.  However, a few points higher, and they would start to benefit from FPTP , and a majority, as we know, can be won with 40+%.   I am sure support grew a bit further in the following years. This was before proportional representation in local elections, devolved parliaments etc, and the Westminster  FPTP system was accepted as the way to win power.  36 seats was always the SNP goal for that reason.   If they had got 36+ seats in 1979, that would have been it.  (Of course, in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, the SNP did achieve an FPTP majority, but the goal posts have moved!)

  95. Marker Post says:

    Speaking of robbery, I see Welsh First Minister making noises again about re-think of the Barnett formula…

    The same Scotsman article says, “it is understood that Scottish Labour will likely rule out a reform of the system when it reports back on further changes to Scottish devolution”.
    Who are Scottish Labour to “rule out” anything, when they are unlikely to be in government?
    Thanks for the post, Paul, keep ’em coming.

  96. Yodhrin says:

    @Kev: As an accountant, you should know it’s fairly disingenuous to paint the UK’s labyrinthine taxation system as “government red tape” without remembering that said red tape is added -at the behest of corporate lobbyists and accountants-.

    The politicians are certainly complicit, but the fault lies with organisations like KPMG, who lobby the arse off ministers, and have their own people working stints at HMRC; the lobbyists get the politicians to add new loopholes with the promise of a nice non-executive directorship after they retire from Westminster or take the Ermine, then the corporate accountants on secondment to HMRC pour over the newly legislated parts of the code to devise new methods of avoidance and evasion, which they take back to their parent companies and use to help the wealthy and other major corporations.

    It’s an atrocious system, but it isn’t an issue inherent to a public sector bureaucracy, rather it is an issue caused by allowing neo-liberal crony-corporatism to infest our public sector bureaucracy.

  97. Linda's Back says:

    SECRET contents of the report on Labour’s vote-rigging scandal, which Ed Miliband refuses to publish, are revealed today by The Sunday Times.
    They lay bare the shocking conclusions of the party’s inquiry into alleged electoral corruption in the brutal battle by the Unite union to seize control of the safe Labour seat of Falkirk.
    Investigators saw indications of:
    ? Forgery
    ? Coercion
    ? Trickery
    ? Manipulation
    Miliband has consistently refused to publish the report of the inquiry he ordered into claims that Unite attempted to rig the selection of Labour’s candidate for the Falkirk seat.
    Last week The Sunday Times revealed how Miliband was forced to abandon the inquiry after a dirty tricks campaign by Unite apparently led key witnesses to withdraw their evidence.
    He will now come under intense pressure to reopen the inquiry and publish its report.
    Extracts from the report are contained in a Unite document that sets out its rejection of the allegations. It was in a cache of 1,000 emails to and from Stevie Deans, the chairman of Falkirk Labour party.

  98. Arabs for Independence says:

    O/T Have received a Groupon offer of half price tickets for George Galloway’s Just Say Naw gig in Dundee next week. 
    Could be be that everyone has already said Naw to this chancers tour?

  99. JLT says:

    Yep! Just read that myself. She’s in hot water. Interesting scenario building now. Labour either defend Lamont and explain her stance, or she is facing the guillotine. Her performances at FMQ in the last few weeks have been car crash TV. She sat in a closet with Shergar and Lord Lucan during the Falkirk fiasco. She’s now being called a liar over her ‘something for nothing’ statement which she has tried to deny ever saying.
    Yep …If she doesn’t bat one out of the ballpark soon, then I think she will be gone just like Bendy Wendy and Subway Gray …and maybe before Christmas too! What a present that would be? Roll up Anas Sarwar, Margaret Curran or Jackie Baillie to be the next leader! Aw ….Peach!

  100. Stuart Black says:

    Morning Rev, and thanks to Paul Kavanagh for this fine piece.
    This is information that must be transmitted to all those folks that claim that they ‘don’t know enough’.
    I have stated before my belief that Wings will play a major part in the referendum campaign and, mulling over the change of attitude apparent since the release of the second crowd funded poll, that remains my firm conviction.
    Wings has become, gulp, almost respectable. Certainly the name is appearing more and more, not only in other like-minded blogs, but also in the blatts and even on radio and television. Nice to hear the site being discussed on Good Morning Scotland, I’d like to hear it discussed in every pub, and workplace in Scotland and beyond.
    A large part of this seems to be based on the recognition that what is being expressed is truthful, rigorous and sourced, and the polls have played a big part in this too. The media find it interesting that polls like these are crowd funded, and more, that the crowd funding is so extraordinarily successful. The polls themselves – and these are what have drawn the most attention – are not Johann Lamont, sorry, Mickey Mouse polls, but serious attempts to garner relevant information and attitudes and, while I know he attracts some ire, they are also given respectability by the keen interest and analysis shown by Prof. Curtice.
    A long-winded way of getting to the point; how to build on the success so far? More crowd funding, obviously, but to fund something that will raise the site’s profile in the widest fashion, this could be billboards (my favoured option), little ads on transport, ads in the papers, full page or otherwise, electronic ads at football matches, even, and why not, adverts on national television.
    A fantasy notion? Perhaps, but I am ambitious for an independent Scotland, and I don’t see why we can’t all be ambitious for a much more widely disseminated Wings. Already we are seeing a broadening of the articles on the site, other contributors are underpinning the amazing work that Stu has put into Wings, readership is soaring, and it provides all the ammunition that a well-armed YES campaigner could ask for.
    I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is, thoughts anyone?

  101. Stuart Black says:

    Ah, that ole Johann Lamont strikethrough not working, eh?

  102. JLT says:

    Hi Stuart Black
    I wonder about this all the time too. I wonder how much it would be to get advertising on one of these big billboards. You’re looking for the key hotspots (loads of cars passing). My idea would be the side of the M8 or the A9. A couple in each of the City Centres. That sort of thing.
    Would the Scotsman allow us to advertise in it? I doubt it.
    But Billboards would be a good one!

  103. david says:

    lamont will either say nothing or lie in her typical vile nasty way.

  104. JLT says:

    I think ‘schtum’ is the key word here. A Scottish Labour spokesman has basically hinted that they believe the matter to be resolved, and would thus, like to discuss other matters and move on.
    But don’t worry …old Johann is bound to screw up again in the near future …if not on Thursday!

  105. david says:

    But don’t worry …old Johann is bound to screw up again in the near future …if not on Thursday
    cant wait, 

  106. Stuart Black says:

    @JLT, “But Billboards would be a good one!”
    Exactly, not too expensive, but high profile and most of all static, so that people can read and re-read, sounds like a plan…

  107. gordoz says:

    James D
    I think that’s what you will find is coming down the tracks in the WP for the long term; as a fall back position to the ‘brats at wesminster’ saying no to temp currency union.

    Billboards has tobe the next crowdfunding plan surely !

  108. Alba4Eva says:

    Well, I hope if any of you are GMB Union members, then your going to cancel your membership.

  109. JLT says:

    Stuart Black
    All we need is for it to be really eye-catching. The Wings logo and a statement. Something on the lines of Jack Nicolson in ‘A few good men’
    ‘You want the truth. Can you handle the truth?’
    …something like that which will make folk go straight to the website so they can ‘test themselves’ against handling the truth! If you question people’s ability, then usually, they go out to prove it to themselves.

  110. Edward says:

    Slightly O/T  I see in this mornings Sunday Herald, that the GMB union has opted to support the No campaign. Apparently thee has been no ballot on the issue or even a show of hands.  The decision was based on a ‘consultation’ with members

    I would invite any GMB member reading this, to comment and enlighten us as to what the ‘consultation’ was about

    Here’s me thinking that trades unions are supposed to reflect and represent its members and not dictate to its members

  111. Stuart Black says:

    @JLT: I like your style!
    Yes, the Wings logo, and something along the lines you stated, excellent. 🙂

  112. JLT says:

    Just did a quick check on JCDecaux, (who do billboards. There is one right outside our offices) and spotted this on a business forum
    ‘The costs vary, but JC Decaux has a minimum spend of £1200 per campaign. Cost of the poster is around £150 and the board itself is around £450 for two weeks.’
    The post itself was from 4 years ago, but I don’t think the costs will have gone up that much (apparently, we are a bit bankrupted these days …or so I hear!) 
    If that info is roughly correct, then that’s not bloody bad at all !!! 

    The question is, do we do another fund raiser, and then get something organised for early spring?

  113. Stuart Black says:

    Less than I thought, to be honest. We could do this, no?

  114. Alba4Eva says:

    Been in the public sector for about 10 years now.  Was going to join the GMB at the beginning of that stint.  Completely glad I didn’t in the knowledge that I’m better at fighting my own battles and I have not contributed a penny to the Labour party. (Forget the lie that you can tick the box to opt out).
    The unions are dead now anyway, a leftover from a time gone.  Toothless as we have just seen at Grangemouth.

  115. david says:

    Unite are at war in Stirling too. public services cut and council workers on work to rule. Hope they dont threaten a strike.

  116. Edward says:

    Alba4eva – Have noted that ASLEF are quoted as supporting No campaign, when you look at the ASLEF web site News section, under the headline ‘ASLEF first union to back Scotland in UK’ dated 21st May.

    The following is interesting ‘Delegates at ASLEF’s annual conference in Edinburgh unanimously agreed to campaign for a ‘No’ vote and to affiliate to the ‘Better Together’ campaign’.

    But when you read further ‘He [Kevin Lindsay] told delegates who had come from all over the UK’ So there was no ballot for Scottish members, only based on what the delegates from members that included those outside of Scotland. What’s funny, is on the page there is a thumbs up, down and neutral. Its shows 88% thumbs down!

    ASLEF in Scotland – a union out of touch from its members

  117. gordoz says:

    GMB – British union, backs union duuuhhhh!!!
    To union members who didn’t see this coming, I point you towards ‘Pink Floyds’ excellent Comfertably Numb !
    Sheep being led to a swamp by ther union sheperds ?  Sound familiar ?
    Extended DEVO powers are not on the table !!!!

  118. JLT says:

    Myself and DondeefLugs are talking about a wee get together on December the 7th at probably the Albanach on the Royal Mile. A couple of others have said that they would like to come along too. The idea is to sit down at around 3ish in the afternoon, a couple of pints, Christmas cheer, reflect the year, discuss the White Paper, what can we do next, etc, and then (depending on the numbers), go for a meal (might be difficult to get a place if there was 50 of us!!)
    Myself or Don will post something on the WoS website and say what is happening. If you fancy (or anyone else for that matter), then we’ll let you know half way through November.
    In its own way, it’s just keeping the networking part of it alive for us, and a chance to meet new and old faces again. Who knows, someone may come up with a ‘eureka’ moment while there.

  119. Ken500 says:

    Scottish gov website

    Search GERS P30/36

    Total revenues raised in Scotland £60Billion. More than enough to pay all Scotland’s needs. Scotland gets back £48Billion. Total taxes raised in the UK £610Billion. UK gov spends £720Billion – £20Billion more. Pro rata more taxes are raised in Scotland. While the rest of the UK borrows and spends 3 times more. To borrow and spend the same as the rest of the UK. Scotland would need to be spending £70Billion.

    Scotland has had to pay for Westminster illegal wars, Trident, redundant weaponry, tax evasion and City of London bank fraud.

    Scotland doesn’t have planes or ships to protect it’s shores or the Atlantic despite paying for Defence.

  120. Alba4Eva says:

    That pretty much sums up what is wrong with the Unions Edward.  You are right, they are run by mini Hitlers, who care more for their own power than the people they represent… why does that sound just like the Labour party!

  121. Edward says:

    Just reading further the Sunday Herald article on the GMB , I noted this “Harry Donaldson, general secretary of GMB Scotland, said the union’s decision had been reached after a long consultation with Scottish members. While some were undecided, and some wanted independence, the “overwhelming” opinion was for a No vote and greater devolution” So the GMB clearly hadn’t asked members, they just got ‘opinion’ If I were a GMB member I would join another union, at least one that shows some signs of democracy that actually listens to its members

  122. Ken500 says:

    If Unions support working people, why do they fund right wing Parties of illegal wars and banking fraud? Causing poverty and deprivation world wide. People in the UK who can’t heat and eat. The old, the sick the young and the poorer. The most vulnerable. ‘The room tax’.

  123. Stuart Black says:

    @JLT, thanks for the invitation, sounds like a good way to pass the day, sadly I’m posting from Norway so I’ll have to pass on that, but have a great time and I hope plenty of the others take you up on the invite, cheers.

  124. Alba4Eva says:

    If I were a GMB member I would just cancel my membership and leave it at that.   It’s not that i’m against the idea of having unions, but I despise what they have become.  Traditionally, Labour were the party of the working man… the Unions have now followed suit and abandoned their roots too.

  125. RobQos says:

    I hope we get more articles like this. Polls suggest the key to winning the referendum is demonstrating that we will be better off. Like other posters have mentioned above I hope the white paper goes into detail on this.

    Other matters of the Scottish economy I would like Wings to look at:

    – The tax and national insurance on public sector wages. That goes back to Westminster. Is that taken into account in GERs? If not how much is it?
    – In GERs we are allocated a share of the income from the production of oil. How is the income in North Sea Service Sector treated? That is worth almost as much as the income on production. This is from a Commons ajournment secured by Nicholas Soames MP in November 2011:

    The taxes forecast to be raised from the industry in 2011-12 include some £6 billion in income tax, national insurance contributions and corporation tax paid by the supply chain companies, with an additional £11 billion from taxes on production itself. That amounts to 25% of all the corporation tax received by the Exchequer. The production of indigenous oil and gas improved the balance of payments by £35 billion in 2011, thus halving the trade deficit, and the supply chain added another £5 billion to £6 billion with exports of oilfield goods and services. Incidentally, that is an aspect of the industry that is doing extremely well here and overseas, and it is flying the flag for Britain effectively.

    – On this link Professor Hallet also mentions other income not allocated to Scotland such as Landing Fees and crown estates. Then there is the underspend on the TV licence fee, the massive underspend on the military and all the London based projects that are deemed to be of ‘national’ importance like the Olympics, London Cross Rail, London Sewerage etc; How much does all that all up to and if we were independent tomorrow would we have a deficit at all? 

  126. JLT says:

    Hi Stuart
    You’re in Norway. I never knew that! No probs, mate. Will have a pint for you if the day should happen!

  127. Stuart Black says:

    Look forward to it mate! And it will happen, despite the doom laden weary wullies, Scotland will not be one of the only countries ever to spurn taking control of its own destiny.
    Just in Norway on a short term contract, a real breath of fresh air, as I spent the last five years in Kazakhstan, mmm… Beautiful country, rains like a bastard but nonetheless a great place to live and work (Norway, not Kaz!).

  128. Albalha says:

    Billboards as part of an overall campaign to make sure people register to vote is something I mentioned some time ago, those who expressed an interest met up.
    Our plan as of then was to do it in early spring ahead of the official campaign period.
    Anyway on your costs they’re a bit off. JCDceaux has a minimum £3000 spend, and their prominent ones in rail stations are off limits. So lets’ say 10 x 48 sheets, that’s a cost of around £5000.

  129. Alba4Eva says:

    Thats a good interview RobQos.

  130. fairiefromtheearth says:

    The reason why i dont buy papers. About every three months i buy a paper to see if they have changed.Today the sunday post,i read three stories then gave up,to sum them up,Neil ive sucket at the Tit of the Labour party all my life Kinnock. oil has brought in 200billion in taxes and Scotland got fekk all,Better Together lol.1800 teachers are of sick every day in Scotland,does the paper want to know why? no they just want to call all teachers lazy sciving waste of taxpayer resorces.oh and the last one the First Minister of Scotland should be using public transport to get tp engagments and apparently he still hasent paid for his trousers lol thx fekk its only every 3 vmonths

  131. Stuart Black says:

    Albalha, interesting, I must have missed that, are there still plans in the offing? Good on you.
    I will contribute if it is.

  132. call me dave says:

    Sunday Herald again gives a reasonable airing to Scotland’s defence prospects

  133. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Stuart Black
    Hi Stewart not seen you around for a while. Glad you are enjoying Norway.

  134. Albalha says:

    Yes, details still to be finalised but a lot of the donkey work has been done, costings, do’s and don’ts both re ad companies and the electoral commission, who have been really helpful I have to say. And I’d a very long chat with a census person most interesting on a range of aspects of the not registered.

  135. JLT says:

    Anyway on your costs they’re a bit off. JCDceaux has a minimum £3000 spend, and their prominent ones in rail stations are off limits. So lets’ say 10 x 48 sheets, that’s a cost of around £5000.
    Cheers Albalha
    I did check the JCDecaux website, but it didn’t mention pricing (basically I think you have to contact Sales). The info I got, like I said, was from a business forum.
    When you say £5000. Is that just one billboard including the poster, or are we talking some billboards plus the posters? If its £5000 for just one billboard, then that is expensive (unless that is just me!)

  136. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “@Stuart Black
    Hi Stewart”


  137. Edward says:

    So the great democracy of the unions that support the No campaign are as follows:
    GMB – ‘consultation’ but no ballot or even show of hands, no information as to how many members were ‘consulted’
    USDAW – No information available on any consultation, never mind a ballot
    NUM – No information what so ever
    ASLEF – No information available on any consultation with actual Scottish members, never mind a ballot. Purely based on delegates from outside of Scotland attending a conference on the referendum
    Really you just couldn’t make this stuff up! Union leaders (use that term very loosely) giving diktat to their members without discussing fully with said members. Straight out of the DPRK (North Korea to you) pages of how to control the masses

  138. Stuart Black says:

    Indeed. 😉

  139. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Just did a quick check on JCDecaux, (who do billboards. There is one right outside our offices) and spotted this on a business forum
    ‘The costs vary, but JC Decaux has a minimum spend of £1200 per campaign. Cost of the poster is around £150 and the board itself is around £450 for two weeks.’
    The post itself was from 4 years ago, but I don’t think the costs will have gone up that much (apparently, we are a bit bankrupted these days …or so I hear!)
    If that info is roughly correct, then that’s not bloody bad at all !!!”

    Hmm, that IS interesting – I too had thought it’d be much more.

    Is there one near Pacific Quay? 😀

  140. Stuart Black says:

    @TMITJ, yeah, I was here for a short period sometime over five years ago, lovely place.
    Like yer dug, by the way. 🙂

  141. Oh MacOo says:

    Great article Paul, can’t wait till January to try Walter’s gingerbread 

  142. Webcraft says:

    +1 for billboards – a great idea.
    re. Newspaper advertising – what about the Metro?

  143. Marker Post says:

    Absolutely would contribute to a crowd-funded billboard campaign. Love the idea, Wings logo with a big, “Can you handle the truth?” underneath

  144. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    I’m up for a pint on the seventh.
    And the eighth … etc.

  145. Stuart Black says:

    C’mon people, somebody photoshop that and let us see what it comes up like, I’d do it myself, but I’m *ahem* at work at the minute. 😀

  146. Albalha says:

    I have been speaking to the sales people at the two main outdoor advertising companies in Scotland.
    So for your approx £5000 you get all the production and poster that’s 10 large – 48 sheet – billboard sites for a two week duration.

  147. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Stuart Black
    Cheers, Talking of wee ginger dugs this article was written by Paul Kavanagh who writes the excellent Wee Ginger Dug blog.  Well worth a swatch!

  148. JLT says:

    Thanks Albalha
    You’re way ahead on this one. Costly, but I like it!
    Is there one near Pacific Quay?
    Ohhhh …you’re just trying to provoke the BBC now, aren’t you? (It would be funny though!)
    If such an idea did appeal to everyone, and say we had another wee fund raiser, well, in my opinion, I would be aiming for where cars pass by the most. Now that would be the M8 and the A9. I guess they will be very costly, but for sure, the most effective. There is the large billboards overlooking the Haymarket crossroads (between the Haymarket bar and Ryries). I don’t know Glasgow that well, but there must be something coming off Junction 17 or 18 as you head towards the City Centre. I’m sure Doug Daniels would have an idea of good spots in Aberdeen.

    Anyway …you kind of see what I am getting it. We don’t need a lot of billboards. We just need key sites.

    I must admit, I did consider making something up and sticking it by the M8, but I’m sure I would have had the Police or a set of Farmers chasing me!!

  149. DougtheDug says:

    Just read the Herald article about the GMB.
    Not really a surprise. A Labour organisation parrots the Labour party’s embryonic plans to emasculate the Scottish Parliament and hand most of its powers over to the Labour controlled councils after a No vote.
    “Our view was that we remain within the United Kingdom, however that was not a green light for the status quo,” he said.

    “For our vision of social and economic change, we want to see a programme for delivering this.

    “So we will be campaigning on the basis of much more power to the people, to local authorities and communities.”
    In essence the GMB’s programme for “social and economic change” is that Scotland continues to live on a block grant from Westminster and that Scotland continues to suffer under successive Tory governments while Labour councils instead of the Parliament in Holyrood get to control the steadily diminishing cash from Westminster .

  150. Stuart Black says:

    If I was in Glasgow I’d take a run down the now, but I think there must be billboards around Finnieston suitably near the approaches to Pacific Quay, off the expressway or on Finnieston Street heading down to the bridge.
    Mebbes get one of my family to have a swatch.
    Hi Man in the Jar, yes, I know the blog, he writes on Newnet often as well, good stuff. This article is important, we need to get it out there. Give the wee dug a clap for us…

  151. kendomacaroonbar says:

    Some time ago we we had a discussion about projecting a WoS image/video. Given there exists WoS video’s on YouTube ( Google WoS)  there are a couple of possible short vids in High Def which could do the job.  Any volunteers with appropriate kit ?

  152. Stuart Black says:

    @Albalha: Ten large billboards for a fortnight for five grand, I think that’s pretty reasonable, and I also think we could aim higher than a mere ten.
    Properly sited too, see JLT’s thoughts, they could reach an enormous amount of people. Finnieston Street though, that’s a must! 😉

  153. Nobody works for Transport Scotland do they?

  154. david says:

    graffiti is much cheaper but might be illegal

  155. JLT says:

    kendomacaroonbar says:     
    Some time ago we we had a discussion about projecting a WoS image/video. Given there exists WoS video’s on YouTube ( Google WoS)  there are a couple of possible short vids in High Def which could do the job.  Any volunteers with appropriate kit ?
    If I’ve got this right …then Kendo; yes, I do remember this. I believe you’re intending to be a tad bit naughty here, and project the image towards the BBC buildings at Pacific Quay.
    Tsk, tsk …but how funny would that be? Grab the billboards around Pacific Quay, and project images onto their building. WoS declares war on the BBC! Something tells me though that the Glasgow police would be there pretty quickly to end any further escalation in the shenanigans!

  156. Ronnie says:

    That’s not a Kirriemuir Ginger Dug, by any chance?

  157. Training Day says:

    In 15 years in and out of Trades Unions I have never found any of them to be of any use to the ordinary member. They are simply a vehicle for the ‘comrades’ at the summit of the union to become surrogate members of the company management.

    I left my latest union (PCS) a few months back as they wilfully would not distinguish between the actions of Westminster and those of Holyrood. Now we see the ultimate fate of Unions like GMB and ASLEF – to end their days as sock puppets for the Tories via Better Together in an open admission that they have no vision for a better, more equitable future. The ‘comrades’ must be so proud of themselves.

  158. david says:

    Tsk, tsk …but how funny would that be? Grab the billboards around Pacific Quay, and project images onto their building. WoS declares war on the BBC! Something tells me though that the Glasgow police would be there pretty quickly to end any further escalation in the shenanigans!
    BBC Scotland will be on the fone right now trying to book those ad spaces at PQ.

  159. JLT says:

    BBC Scotland will be on the fone right now trying to book those ad spaces at PQ.
    Ha ha ha …just our little version of …Project Fear!

  160. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Monty Carlow
    Agree with you re VAT in GERS.
    8.7% VAT revenue vs 8.4% population. Might be wrong, but wont be by much.
    Much more interesting as you say is the historical debt analysis.
    Brian Ashcroft did all this work on his blog.

    His conclusion was that Scotland’s debt since 1980 would be £15bn
    HOWEVER if exclude what Scotland has been charged in GERS for its share of UK Debt Interest payments then Scotland is actually in surplus to the tune of £68bn.
    You would then need to include a number for the amount of interest that the UK would have had to pay Scotland for the £68bn loan. Most of that would have dated from the  1980’s so the interest over that length of time would be substantial.
    The true number will be around a surplus of £80bn to £100bn.
    (BA in true Brit Nat style then goes on the state that despite that we are still better off in the Union – bizarre)
    WOS also had an article on this a few weeks back.

  161. Stuart Black says:

    Hee hee!!

  162. kendomacaroonbar says:

    Everything would be above board and strictly in accordance with the law of the land. 🙂
    ( and that yer honour is the case for the defence lol )

  163. kendomacaroonbar says:

    Can you ping me off your contact numbers on Linkedin IM please ?

  164. patronsaintofcats says:

    For those wanting to crowd-fund some promotion for Wings, here’s a thought:  Inserts into newspapers, better small local/regional ones but the majors if they will allow it*.  
    I was a marketing project manager many moons ago, but the principles always apply.  I also was campaign secretary for two election campaigns for the SNP in South of Scotland (one for MSP and one for MP).  We did handbill inserts into the locals in Annan, Moffat, Dumfries post codes etc.  For one thing, the penetration (i.e. subscription rate) was anywhere from 60% to 80%, meaning you got your message into better than half of the homes in the area.  They also can’t tamper with your message as long as you follow their guidelines.  We were in the campaign period, but to promote Wings as a site you shouldn’t have to follow purdah rules.  As I understand it, we already have a handbill ready to go that gives info on the range of indy web sites out there, but it wouldn’t be hard to design something Wings specific, just more cost for the production and printing.  The best part of this is it is very very inexpensive:  I think at the time a few years back it was like £30/1000, and you can even be post code specific if you like.  You pick the time you want it in (Friday was the larger circulation for our area), drop the leaflets at the paper at the appointed time, and they machine insert them into the papers before they go out for distribution.  Working with a limited budget, we felt like it made a big difference for us, especially in the Westminster election against Mundell.  We raised our vote more than anyone expected, and I would put it down to that (we also did a lot of canvassing etc. in the area, but the geographical size of the constituency was nearly impossible to cover that way).  
    Just a thought.  Love the idea of any kind of campaign to promote Wings, happy to help out.
    *some of the papers make it hellishly difficult to work with them on this, so we ended up not using them.  Looking at you Johnston Press.

  165. Stuart Black says:

    Ian Bell in his usual fine fettle…

  166. Another Union Dividend says:

    Radio Four is running a daily series on “The Roots of Scottish Nationalism” at 1.45 pm starting on Monday.

  167. Erchie says:

    Like Training Day I find my Union, which I am still in useless for most reasons of representing the membership, but big on telling us who to vote for and to go on strike in Scotland for Westminster problems

    If they call another strike on the same issue again, I’m handing in my union membership

  168. JLT says:

    Albert Herring
    There’s the one on Finneston Street and there’s others on Paisley Road at Springfield Quay.

    I like the link mate, and I like the picture on the first Billboard. Maybe we should have a rogues gallery done up like that on the billboard; ‘these people are criminally lying to you about your country’

  169. JLT says:

    Overall…Rev …what do you think? Do you want to start a long-term fund and aim for a few billboards in early Spring. Folk seem to be up for it!

  170. Paula Rose says:

    I’m more in favour of a leaflet, bit worried about all those drivers suddenly being made aware that they’ve been deliberately lied to!

  171. Stuart Black says:

    OK Rev, as you may have noticed, I’m pretty keen on this so, in the hope of launching a wee snowball down a big hill, I’ve just donated 100 quid, now that’s for you to do with as you see fit, you can start a fund for adverts, you can look into leaflets, or you can buy a bottle of Highland Park and a box of Aztec bars, absolutely your shout.
    Whatever you’ve been doing up till now has worked fantastically well, so keep on keeping on, and thanks.

  172. Stuart Black says:

    Can I have a Wings badge? 😉

  173. Silverytay says:

    First off , I am up for contributing towards paying for bill board advertising or newspaper adverts or anything else that wingers come up with to help the cause .
    As far as the G.M.B is concerned , I gave up on them a few years back .
    I was a G.M.B shop steward for 10 years and gave up as they were no longer interested in looking after there members interests , it was all recruit , recruit , recruit and to hell with the members .
    The other thing about the G.M.B is the fact that it is basically a recruitment centre for labour .
    Every training course you went on it was all labour this , labour that and don’t do anything that might rock the boat .   
    You only have to look at some of the present m.p,s , m.s.p,s etc who have came up through the G.M.B ranks to find out what side of the fence the G.M.B is on .

  174. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    ‘Absolutely would contribute to a crowd-funded billboard campaign. Love the idea, Wings logo with a big, “Can you handle the truth?” underneath”

    I’m thinking a load of doom-and-gloom scare-story headlines from every Scottish paper, then “WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO HEAR THE OTHER SIDE TOO?” and our logo and URL.

  175. Monty Carlow says:

    @Ivan McKee
    Thanks for these comments and the link – very helpful.  I have had a quick look at that, and my figures.  I think that the effect of interest on Scotland’s accrued surplus is being vastly underestimated.  If Scotland has effectively subbed the rUK, I am basing my assumptions that the rate paid on that loan would be at the same average rate as the UK has paid, year on year, on its overall debt (there being no “middle man”).   This has a huge effect. 
    I would like to look into this further, but it does seem to me that Ashcroft has skirted round this issue.

  176. Stuart Black says:

    “I’m thinking a load of doom-and-gloom scare-story headlines from every Scottish paper, then “WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO HEAR THE OTHER SIDE TOO?” and our logo and URL.”
    Yep, that would work, and it’s not as if we’ll be short of scare-story headlines, is it? We may have to rent out double billboards…

  177. Kev says:


    ” As an accountant, you should know it’s fairly disingenuous to paint the UK’s labyrinthine taxation system as “government red tape” without remembering that said red tape is added -at the behest of corporate lobbyists and accountants-.”

    I am fully aware of the revolving door that exists between the big four accounting firms and the top echelons of HMRC, but my post was more about the deficiencies of HMRC’s day-to-day operations. Tax legislation is influenced by a number of groups, big firms like KPMG and the like are included but so are the professional bodies like ICAS and ICAEW, who represent the vast number of small accounting practices, who I assure you are wholly against any further complication of the system.

  178. Aidan says:

    Can you handle the truth? Come and get your Wings.

  179. Jon D says:

    Mobile billboards – more locations = more bangs per buck.
    Just thinking out loud

  180. proudscot says:

    Re Kirriemuir Gingerbread cakes, if you live in or near Perth, forget about English based Morrisons, go to Farmfoods. They stock these gingerbread cakes all year round.

  181. Stuart Black says:

    How many people does it take to change ministerial light bulbs? Are these people fucking handless? Do we really want a minister for Universities who can’t even change his own lightbulbs? I despair, really.
    Universities minister David Willetts, reportedly worth £1.9million, claimed £2,596 for his West London house which is worth £1.3million. His constituency home in Hampshire is worth £300,000.
    In 2009 it emerged Mr Willetts billed the taxpayer £115 plus VAT for workmen to replace 25 light bulbs at the London property. Mr Willetts’ spokeswoman yesterday refused to comment.

  182. Kev says:

    Why not get Wings on the telly? According to these guys you can start with as little as £5k (ok it aint cheap but it is for the telly) and looks like you can target specific channels, eg STV. I know its more for businesses selling stuff, but obv plenty charities do it too, just a thought:

  183. Stuart Black says:

    Ah, sorry, last comment posted on the wrong thread, apologies for any confusion caused. 😉

  184. Marcia says:

    Asda in Dundee stock Kirriemuir Gingerbread. One in the trolley for eating later.

  185. Aidan says:

    The 9am Headlines programme on Radio Scotland with Ken MacDonald mentioned the current stories on Bella Caledonia and WoS again this week.  He managed to present (spin?) this Gingerbread Robbery by summarising only the introductory paragraphs.  It sounded like the entire article was a complaint about those mean people down South not stocking the stuff we want in the supermarkets…
    A commentator in the studio followed it up by saying that these kind of decisions would still be made in the post-independence social union with England that Alex Salmond is promoting.
    People must have contacted the programme to provide a correction but Ken’s brief mumble about tax in Scottish supermarkets going to HM Treasury didn’t come close to doing the real story justice.
    I could see why the poll broke through last week and got Wings on the telly.  I must admit I didn’t expect a radio check-in on us this week.  It struck me that this quick look at major Scottish internet news sites might become a regular occurrence.  The same sites were all mentioned in exactly the same way last week as part of a look at the landscape of headlines in Scotland.  If the lead WoS story gets a mention on the programme next week, it might be seen as the formation of a pattern and could perhaps become an opportunity to highlight a particularly important story with salient facts front-loaded to ensure the least opportunity for minimisation or spin.  Just a thought.

  186. Ian Brotherhood says:

    On whichever billboard is closest to Pacific Quay – ‘Welcome to Project Feart’.

  187. X_Sticks says:

    Ken MacDonald’s Headlines program is one of the few glimmers of hope for BBC Scotland.
    I hope the reporting of the online websites continues and, as you say, if this does be come a regular feature then it could be used to get some prominance for important stories.
    Much as I enjoy Paul Kavanagh’s Wee Ginger Dug articles it might not have been Rev Stu’s first choice if he was aware of the review on Headlines. Frozen at Zero or The Dirty Game may have provoked more discussion.
    Have to say too, that the standard of articles and posts on Wings over the last few weeks has been exemplary. Reading Wings who could doubt that we can do this thing. I think the Rev should have a “post of the Month” award (earn your wings?) and I will look forward to the superb post-independence book that resides in the Wings archive!

  188. Aidan says:

    I think the Great Gingerbread Robbery and Scott Minto’s recent ‘Spend £20 To Save A Tenner’ blast on Tax make a great combo.  I agree, though, that Frozen at Zero, if it had been up a wee bit earlier, might have made it through that little gap on MacDonald’s programme and hit the Scottish news scene like an early snowball in the face.  Who else is covering it?

  189. Bingo Wings Over Scotland says:

    As other have referred to, The Great Obfuscation is well worth a read. This is from 2006, I’m not aware of anything more recent.

  190. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Aidan, @ X-Sticks
    Excellent points.
    To be fair to Ken MacDonald he did make the point at the end of the show that tax going south was the main point of the story (NOT helped by the studio guest, none other than the Revs top fan Kate Higgins who completely missed the point and used it as an opportunity to bash the ‘cybernats’ and their grievance politics !!?)
    The main point however is on news management.
    Iain McWhirter was on making the point that there had been no news coverage of the IFS report out last week.
    If Scott Minto’s article had been top billing for us this morning then that would have been excellent… “no-one covered the IFS report EXCEPT WOS who thoroughly debunked the whole piece of propaganda masquerading as ‘Gold Standard’ economic analysis”.
    Need to put some serious though into news cycle management for next Sunday morning Rev.

  191. Jamie Arriere says:

    Tesco also stock Kirriemuir gingerbread. Made by Bell Food Group at Shotts in Lanarkshire – will be adding to my weekly shop.

  192. Edward says:

    Just a thought, for those interested in Advertising on TV, here are the rate card for STV
    All Scotland Transmission area
    Obviously the All Scotland transmission area would be  more cost effective. The rates shown are for a single advert. So for a single 30 second slot the cost would be £ 3372 for peak time. This excludes the cost of actually making the advert.
    I notice the reach is 3,934,000 viewers

  193. JLT says:

    If that is right, then that’s damn good! That is seriously worth a thought!

  194. setondene says:

    Excellent article.  Multiply this effect right across the retail sector in Scotland and you’ll see just how much we’re getting screwed by our friends down South,  England/Britain is fundamentally imperialist and colonialist.  No matter how much they try to  cover it up by describing the takeover  of Scotland’s economy as ‘economic integration’.  No wonder they want to hang on to us.  I believe that their private sector interests are busily lobbying the Tories with their concerns that the Scottish milk cow might exit their field.

  195. KillieBoab says:

    An STV advert reaches almost 80% of the population of Scotland. Really?

  196. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “OK Rev, as you may have noticed, I’m pretty keen on this so, in the hope of launching a wee snowball down a big hill, I’ve just donated 100 quid, now that’s for you to do with as you see fit,”

    Totally blew it on rats. NEXT time, though, definitely billboards and stuff.

  197. kendomacaroonbar says:

    Albaha and a few others have been burning the midnight oil on a marketing strategy that is deliverable, It is truly admiral to read the enthusiastic support, and the current thought process is to work on how best to harness this.
    We are aware that media space is already being booked several months in advance to cover the Commonwealth games. Of the space that is available today, it has to be booked now to be certain of availabilty. Therefore a detailed approach to how best promote the site and the referendum is being worked on now and will be given to Rev Stu for his support.
    Please be aware that the funds required are substantial, and therefore crowdfunding is the only way to go; however we are also conscious of the fact that Chrimbo is just around the corner and that the Rev’s own annual fund raising activity needs to start in February (?).
    In summary, activity is happening behind the scenes and therefore we ask for your kind patience until we can present our findings to Rev Stu to ensure alignment of strategy.
    In the meantime, if any of you wingslanders have specific graphic design skills, chromakey experience, we’d love to hear from you.
    yours aye
    Ken McDonald  ( The other one )

  198. Stuart Black says:

    As soon as I saw that picture, I had the sinking feeling that I might have just paid for them! 😀

  199. Edward says:

    Killieboab – apparently according to STV that is. I would take it as potential as apposed to actual

  200. Stuart Black says:

    @kendomacaroonbar, Albalha.
    “In summary, activity is happening behind the scenes and therefore we ask for your kind patience until we can present our findings to Rev Stu to ensure alignment of strategy.”

    Really pleased that the grown-ups have been working away behind the scenes on this, with a clear idea of what’s actually involved, e.g. the availability of hoardings in the light of the games and everything else, very grateful for your efforts, well done. I suppose it’s easy enough to get a wee flash of enthusiasm for something and sound off, it is a whole world away from getting out there and doing it. Appreciate your efforts.
    Once again, thanks to you both and for everyone else involved.

  201. Seasick Dave says:

    Totally blew it on rats. NEXT time, though, definitely billboards and stuff.
    £20 a rat?
    I’ve got some under my shed going at a tenner a piece.

  202. merchantbanker says:

    The article states “Since it [VAT revenue generated on receipts in Scotland by a company with its head office in England] doesn’t count as Scottish revenue, none of this money is credited to Scotland in the UK Government’s GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland).”

    Unfortunately, that statement contains two errors, one of which is so fundamental as to invalidate the entire case put by the author.

    The first, more minor, error is that GERS is a Scottish Government publication, sponsored by Alex Salmond, not a UK Government publication. The fundamental error is that the GERS detailed revenue methodology paper 2011-12 on page 19 specifies that

    “Scotland’s share of UK net VAT revenues is estimated from the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF), formerly the Expenditure and Food Survey (EFS). The LCF provides estimates of average weekly expenditure per household on a large number of goods and services in Scotland and the UK.”

    The same applies to alcohol, fags, betting and gaming. So ignoring the fact that Kirriemuir gingerbread sold in supermarkets is zero-rated, we can all carry on shopping in Tesco, drinking, smoking and betting secure in the knowledge that we are doing our bit for Scotland’s revenues as reported in GERS.

  203. Lanarkist says:

    The Union theme running through this thread is interesting,as is the billboard idea, in as much as the national reps get to vote on policy, even although most of them won’t get a vote in the Ref. Like a micro-cosm of Westminster the decision is made on a massive imbalance of population share and so Scotland gets what England decides.
    My own Union , BECTU, has just informed me that the new Membership Cards system is being rolled out regionally and having received complaints from Scottish Members have sent apologies for the card carrying prominently the words Better Together. They had adopted this phrase in 2011 before Ukok adopted it for their own pro-union campaign.
    They do hope that Scottish members will be proud to carry their cards.
    No mention of official stance being decided/ declared as yet that I am aware of. Perhaps someone will have  official stance updates?
    National Unions by their nature favour the status quo, can outvote Scottish Members 10/1, English, Irish and Welsh Reps get to vote.
    DC stated that it is only for the Scot’s population to decide  and that poeple without a vote should not have a say to avoid debate.
    Interesting times for Lab, Slab, nat. Unions and Country Membership rules pertaining to Referendum.

  204. kendomacaroonbar says:

    @Stuart Black
    Thanks Stuart, we are just trying to prep everything without alerting the competition too much if you get my drift 🙂

  205. Stuart Black says:

    @ kendomacaroonbar: No, thank you and all those involved, I’m just an enthusiastic idiot, who get’s carried away in the flushes of the aforesaid enthusiasm.
    But I can and will help financially, this site is so important in the wider picture, I have been so heartened by the remarkable rise in stats for the site, I just want it to be brought to the broader public’s attention, in any way possible.
    Rats? Hah!

  206. Steven Roy says:

    The example I always give is BT. They own all the landlines in Scotland. If you ignore everything but line rental then think about the VAT on that. That is tax paid by the people of Scotland that counts as English tax.

    It’s amazing how many pound notes change nationality as they cross the border. Well in one direction across the border

  207. Gary says:

    Not only, but also – PAYE Tax/NIC, “Scottish” employees deductions go to HMRC Accounts Office Cumbernauld, except they don’t. “Scottish” employers are recognisable on your payslip because the employee reference will be 961/AA1234, they always start 961/ On the other hand, anything that starts with any other number will be paid to an office probably in England, but definitely somewhere else in the UK. Tesco, Morrisons, Banks, large national and international companies number amongst those who use a single tax office in England. NB the Co-op use Manchester if memory serves me right. Of course the Civil Service doesn’t pay into Scotland. Depending on what branch you’re in you will be PD1 or PD2, both in Wales. Not sure if this includes emergency services and NHS. But here’s another hidden income. Of course there’s loads of other smaller taxes that we forget about including National Insurance (Ok – officially it’s NOT a tax) They shut ALL the Scottish Offices and moved it to Longbenton near Newcastle. Then there’s “Beer Tax” – yes, it’s a real tax. I could go on, and on, but this is turning into a tome. So there’s lots of hidden income that doesn’t show where it comes from – and why would it matter anyway? Unless you were trying to make the Scottish look POOR for some reason?

  208. Harry Scott says:

    As far as I can tell this article is completely wrong. It assumes that VAT revenue in GERS figures is counted according to where it is paid from (head office of the company). But that’s not the case at all: According to the GERS methodology notes, VAT allocation is is estimated according to surveys on average Scots SPENDING habits. So it’s still an estimate, but it’s not likely to be that far off and revenue is certainly not spirited over the border in those figures. Even on the face of it, VAT per head shows up as roughly the same between Scotland and England and that certainly wouldn’t be the case your article was true. I only know this because as a Yes supporter, I suspected the same thing as you, so I went to the bother of checking: (The relevant bit is on page 19)

  209. Casper1066 says:

    Stu, I think a lot of people don’t realise the hidden tax revenues which would come to Scotland. It would be a great idea to have a picture or card online which could be e-mailed around. I certainly didn’t know how much money this involved, if this is one shop, multiply this x amount would be a startling revelation for people.


  210. abigdoob says:

    “Alcohol produced in the UK which is exported abroad becomes subject to UK alcohol duty at the point of export”

    A small but important point, there is no alcohol duty on exports. The point about ports is correct though. It’s counted as English exports.

  211. Niall says:

    Abigdoob is only partially correct – there is no excise duty on exports that go outside the EU, however the excise duty on whisky sold to EU countries is paid in the UK.

  212. Chris Darroch says:

    Why even give this turncoat a platform like Wings ?

    He fleeced the indy community for a home and now he is back….allowed to pretend that his integrity is about Scotland, when he has proven numerous times that it is not.

    This is why I dropped out of Twitter.

    I didn’t become disillusioned by the tragedy of trying to gain independence…..

    But by the tragedy of human integrity, consistency and intelligence.

    SHEESH !!!

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