Valuable lessons

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A RECENT leaflet from the Yes campaign starts with the claim: “Scotland is in a stronger financial position than the rest of the UK by £1,000 for each Scottish household. That’s because we generate 9.6 per cent of UK taxes, but receive just 9.3 per cent of UK spending.”

I looked up the underlying figures on the Scottish Government’s website. The above 9.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent are for the year 2010-11. The year before, they were both 9.3 per cent. For 2007-8, they are reversed: 9.5 per cent and 9.6 per cent. (In any case, 9.3 per cent of expenditure for 8.4 per cent of population underlines our North Sea dependency.)

Equally interesting are the absolute figures. For 2010-11, Scottish taxes were £53.1 billion and expenditure was £63.8bn, ie expenditure was an alarming 20 per cent higher than receipts. To have equalised Scottish expenditure with the UK average would have needed extra borrowing of £2bn, or about £377 per head – hence a hypothetical £1,000 per household.

Most of us, I imagine, value our British citizenship and passports – not least for the financial security of welfare and pensions. We are now being asked to surrender our British passports in exchange for those of a new Scotland-in-Elysium. This, on SNP figures, will enable Scotland to borrow the equivalent of one packet of cigarettes per week per head of population, payable in a currency as yet to be agreed.

To quote last week’s Treasury publication, “the economic ­rationale is not clear”.

Humphrey Passmore


YOUR correspondents Andrew Gray and Alex Gallagher (“SNP’s curious approach to the referendum”, Letters, 29 April) epitomise the No campaign’s approach to the independence issue – the promotion of the entirely negative, so that the arguments are about what problems independence could bring, not what positive benefits derive from independence or even what benefits a No vote brings.

On listening to these arguments you would be forgiven for thinking that no other country had ever become independent before.

Every right-minded individual believes in their hearts and heads that any nation of peoples, especially one with our natural resources, talents, skills and enterprise, deserves and expects self-determination. Why would anyone want anything else?

Blair Allan

Fort William