Scottish independence: Ruth Davidson points to welfare

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AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would be unable to finance the country’s welfare and pensions bill, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has claimed.

The Tories claimed Scotland Office figures showed almost £100 billion has been spent on benefits and pensions since records began in 2002, while the total revenue from oil and gas was £59.7bn.

Ms Davidson called on the First Minister to spell out how the government of an independent Scotland would pay for welfare spending and ensure “help is available to the poorest in society”.

She said: “Scotland is stronger and wealthier for being part of the United Kingdom and benefits from being part of one of the most successful economic unions in the world.

“Evidence of this, is the amount of welfare and pension spending in Scotland over the past ten years, which has far exceeded oil and gas revenues alone.

“Alex Salmond must really come clean on the costs of separation.”

A spokesman for the First Minister challenged the Scotland Office figures and attacked the coalition government at Westminster over its package of benefit cuts.

The spokesman said: “Ruth Davidson’s government at Westminster is hurting vulnerable people, including removing Disability Living Allowance. Welfare and pensions spending will be more affordable with independence, and Scotland will be better off.”