Scotland spending more on public services than it raises in tax

SCOTLAND is spending billions of pounds more on public services than it raises in tax, official statistics showed today.

Even taking in North Sea oil and gas revenues, the country remains in the red to the tune of about £10.7 billion, according the Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (GERS) figures published today.

But Scotland’s deficit is 7.4 per cent of GDP, which leaves the country in better shape than the UK as a whole which ran an annual deficit of about £136.1 billion, equating to 9.2 per cent of GDP.

Finance secretary John Swinney said: “The official figures show that Scotland continues to contribute more to the UK Treasury than we receive in public spending.

He added: “Scotland’s oil and gas resources - a trillion pound asset base - are worth more than 10 times Scotland’s share of a UK debt built up by successive Westminster governments.”

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But Labour finance spokesman Ken Macintosh said: “The report shows that, if the SNP get their way, Scotland would have to raise taxes, cut public services, or borrow more at a higher rate.

“Oil revenues have fallen dramatically from their peak three years ago, showing the folly of relying solely on oil to anchor the Scottish economy.”