Scotland '˜enjoys £8bn dividend' for being part of UK

Scots pay lower taxes and enjoy higher public spending levels as a result of being part of the UK, a new report has found.

Alastair Cameron cites enormous financial benefits of being part of the UK. Picture: Neil Hanna

It shows UK membership is worth an additional £8.8 billion to the Scottish economy, according to the pro-Union group which commissioned the research.

But the findings were dismissed by the SNP, which claimed that the report was undertaken in order to “talk Scotland down” by the Scotland in the Union organisation.

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The report was compiled by consultants Europe Economics and found total public spending in Scotland is 14 per cent higher than the rest of the UK. This is worth about £1,530 for every individual in Scotland.

Combined council tax and non-domestic rates have fallen since devolution in 1999 relative to the rest of the UK, from £252 per head higher to £118 per head lower.

Scotland in Union Director Alastair Cameron said: “This clearly shows the enormous financial benefits that we in Scotland enjoy from our place in the UK.

“The ‘Union Dividend’ is a return on our long contribution to the success of the United Kingdom and all that we have achieved together over generations of shared history, culture and endeavour.

“This analysis demonstrates how the dividend is being used by the Scottish Parliament to pursue its own priorities and sets out the possibilities available ahead to Scotland’s politicians and the people they represent.”

The report is based on the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures and found capital spending used for major building projects is 34 per cent higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

But a spokesman for the SNP said: “It is no surprise to see an anti-independence campaign group try to use research they commissioned to talk Scotland down – but this report itself explicitly states that it is not designed to provide a measure of the finances of an independent Scotland.

“The idea of any economic analysis taking one year in isolation and trying to draw conclusions simply isn’t credible – in 2008-09 the UK’s deficit was twice Scotland’s, while Scotland has paid more tax per head than the rest of the UK for all but one of the last 36 years.”