Public spending in Scotland ‘£1500 higher than UK average’

Scots enjoy �1,500 more per head on public services than the UK average, figures have shown.

Scots enjoy �1,500 more per head on public services than the UK average, figures have shown.

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Scots see almost £1,500 more on public spending per head for services such as health and education than the UK average, official figures have revealed.

Pro-UK campaigners have hailed the “Union dividend” set out by the latest Country and Regional Analysis published by the Treasury.

David Mundell says the figures show the value of being part of the UK

David Mundell says the figures show the value of being part of the UK

Spending on services in Scotland hit £10,536 per head in 2015-16, an increase of £189 on the previous year. The figure for the rest of the UK is £9,076, with a smaller rise of £163.

The Scottish Government said that the report shows it spends more on health and education north of the Border.

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But Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said: “Public spending in Scotland is higher than the rest of the UK – now by almost £1,500 per person per year – despite a rising budget deficit on the Scottish Government’s watch.

“This illustrates the value to Scotland of being part of a strong, broad-shouldered United Kingdom.”

The highest public spending levels are in Northern Ireland, where the figure is £10,983, while in Wales it was £9,996. The lowest public spending of all the UK nations is in England where the figure is £8,816.

Scottish education spending increased by 3.7 per cent over the past year compared with a 2 per cent fall across the UK, while health spending in Scotland increased by 4.6 per cent in the year to March 2016 compared with growth of 3.4 per cent across the UK.

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A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The figures demonstrate the Scottish Government’s commitment to invest in frontline public services. He added: “These figures only describe one side of the equation when it comes to public finances, with no comparison for public sector revenues.

“Scottish revenue has been on average £630 per person a year higher than in the UK as a whole since devolution.”

The amount of spending which each part of the UK receives is determined by the Barnett Formula. This adopts a needs-based approach and means that Scotland receives more money than other parts of the UK. The main political parties have pledged to protect this in the new devolution deal.

Alistair Cameron, director of the pro-UK Scotland in the Union campaign, said: “If Nicola Sturgeon continues to threaten Scotland’s ‘Union dividend’ with talk of another referendum, she should be honest about the deep cuts or big tax rises which will follow if she got her way.”

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