Put Scotland first

With a fairly close result it is clear that while there is no majority for independence at the moment, it has not been decided completely.

A lot now depends not just on whether the promises of the unionist parties are honoured but on how Westminster tackles the other problems of society.

According to the government’s own figures, in 2008 when Brown became prime minister our debt was around £530 billion. In 2010 when Cameron took over from him it had risen to £760bn and now after four years of the coalition it is £1,260bn.

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As a percentage of GDP it has risen from around 38 per cent in 2008 to around 78 per cent now. Due to the fact we are still running a deficit budget (and have been since 2001) that debt is still increasing. In this tax year so far borrowing has exceeded £37bn and is expected to be around £100bn for the whole year.

This means that next year’s debt figure is going to be £100bn more. Paying the interest on that debt is a significant part of government spending.

It is clear that Brown’s initial mistake of borrowing since 2001 has been compounded by Chancellor George Osborne’s inability to reduce the deficit to zero by 2015 as he promised in 2010.

Against these figures Scotland’s call for more powers must include more say over its economy. Westminster wastes money on needless defence projects, purchasing equipment that is unsuitable or in some cases doesn’t work.

It is also clear that the significant budget areas like education, health and welfare cannot be sustained. The move to free schools in England has produced duplication and waste and in many cases a worse education for the pupils.

According to reports, English health trusts are already £167m in the red in the first quarter of the 2014-15 year. Add in the increasing welfare and pension budget and Westminster has real problems.

Whatever happens the Scottish Government must put Scotland first and make sure the promises from Westminster are fulfilled.

Bruce D Skivington


Gairloch, Wester Ross