Slender figures

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There are some HMRC figures that demonstrate just how slender and precarious the national income of an independent Scotland would be.

According to HMRC’s latest 
accounts, total income tax receipts, from which people in the UK received pensions, benefits etc, in 2011-2012 came to £156 billion across the UK, with £135bn in England against just £11.3bn in Scotland.

Workers in London pay an 
average £8,850 a year income tax – more than double the £4,260 average in Scotland.

The Northern Irish and Welsh are even further behind at £3,520 and £3,310 respectively.

These figures are skewed by a relatively small number of very high earners in London. There are 107,000 top-rate tax payers in London against 18,000 in Scotland.

It is clear that Scotland benefits greatly from being part of the UK system of taxation and spread of risk across the whole of the UK.

It is worth pointing out to those who see oil and gas as the golden goose that will lay eggs in an independent Scotland that last year UK oil and gas generated £4.7bn, much of it from the North Sea, but that is much less than half the £12.4bn raised in 2008 before the oil price fell, demonstrating the risk of relying on commodity prices for national income.

Another example of being better together.

Donald Lewis

Gifford

East Lothian