DCSIMG

Scotland overpays for UK debt

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

  • by GORDON MACINTYRE-KEMP
 

The unionist myth that the UK subsidises Scotland is one of the greatest confidence tricks in political history.

In his article yesterday “Yes, intelligent analysis is lacking”, Peter Jones furthers the kidology. In so doing, he is guilty of ignoring the facts.

Business for Scotland’s analysis of Scotland’s financial position is based on official government data and has been verified by one of the country’s leading independent economic brains.

It proves two key things. First, that every year for the past 32 years – the period covered by the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report – has included a deduction from Scotland’s block grant equivalent to our population percentage share of UK debt. Over that period, that amounted to £64.1 billion.

Second, during that time, had Scotland been an independent country with its geographic share of oil revenues established under international law (as would be the case under independence) Scotland’s borrowing would have been zero.

Ipso facto, Scotland has paid £64.1bn servicing debts it did not need. Bang goes the great unionist myth. Peter Jones claims that my analysis does not consider the interest on debt prior to 1980, but in the footnote of the study he was critiquing it plainly states that this was factored in.

Hard though many in the pro-union camp may find it to bear, Scotland subsidises the UK – not the other way round. Unfortunately, the myth has been perpetrated for so long that many people have come to believe it and it has damaged the confidence of Scottish people.

Further, if Scotland inherits a population percentage share of UK debt, that would be 8.4 per cent, but if we stay in the UK and continue to generate 9.9 per cent of UK revenues then we effectively overpay for the debt.

The No Campaign does not like this analysis because it is powerful, solid and the data is correct. It is keen to sustain the great financial con trick because it fits very well with its relentless scaremongering and negativity – but it does not stand up to intelligent scrutiny.

There is no positive analysis or even positive message from the No Campaign, which is one reason why David Cameron is refusing to debate with Alex Salmond.

• Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is CEO of Business for Scotland, a pro-Yes business policy and economics policy think tank

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