Pandemic shows us the truth about the UK’s ‘broad shoulders’

HOW can the SNP produce an economic case for Scottish independence, which is asking the impossible (75% of Scots will back independence – if the economic case is right, October 14)?

The UK Government that controls our economic policies, funding and statistical information can’t even produce accurate predictions for the next year, let alone the long-term future.

The UK Government collects nearly all taxes for the Scottish Government and hands back enough to cover devolved matters, retaining the remainder to spend on behalf of Scotland.

READ MORE: 75 per cent of Scots will back independence – if the economic case is right

At present our only source of statistical information is the annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland Report (GERS) derived mainly from estimates of Scotland’s share of the UK economy.

These are based on Scotland’s performance under UK Government policies and consequently are practically useless in predicting the future economic performance of an independent Scotland, or any other independent country for that matter.

As an example, due to different policies on exploiting North Sea oil and gas, the UK’s total income from the North Sea in the last year was about £1 billion compared to about £10bn for Norway.

Somehow Scotland’s allocated notional deficit is four times higher per capita than the UK as a whole. In fact Scotland, with less than 10% of the UK population, is usually allocated more than half of the UK’s total deficit.

Allocated liabilities included around £3.5bn for Scotland’s share of UK defence expenditure, compared to about £1bn spent by similar-sized countries such as Ireland and New Zealand.

This Westminster government takes every opportunity to weaken the position of the Scottish Government, as shown by the retention of powers and funds returning from the EU to the UK.

The UK was a net contributor to the EU, and Scotland’s share of the annual payment came from retained Scottish taxes. These payments are now ending but this will not bring any more funds to the Scottish Government, as the UK Government it is going to retain Scotland’s share of the former EU payment.

However, it recognises that some of the UK’s EU annual contribution always returned in the form of funding for EU projects in the UK, including Scotland.

The benevolent UK Government is now going to assume this role and fund some Union-flagged projects of its own choice in Scotland. These may be in devolved areas such as health and transport and will effectively be paid from Scottish taxes; the Brexit Bonus for the nation that agreed it was too small, too poor and too stupid to govern itself in 2014.

The Covid pandemic revealed that the broad shoulders of the UK were nothing but expensive padding, the new aircraft carriers are going to take the UK’s place on the global stage in the Far East while a Greenpeace RIB clears predatory trawlers off our fishing grounds.

It’s time for Scotland to join all the other small countries in the world who had the backbone to trust in themselves and take their independence.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

THERE is no logical argument why any country in the world would pass its governance to the larger neighbouring country. It’s an illogical, bizarre and ridiculous idea and Unionists know that. That’s why they cling on to the old played-out “Scotland is too poor” nonsense. What else can they say?

P McDonald

YOU can’t answer a constitutional question with a calculator.

Peter A Bell

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