GERS, An unnecessary Millstone

Ok we are now in the silly season of the GERS figures ,presented by the Scottish government ( by order of the Westminster Government) in order to show that we are to  wee and indeed to stupid to govern an independent Scotland.

Yes believe it or not that is the sole propose of these statistics brought out once a year purportedly to show an accurate presentation of income and expenditure attributable to Scotland as it would be if we were independent.

Thing is that the initial propose  of GERS was in fact the exact opposite and this, and was in fact designed to  deceive ,rather than inform . The first GERS figures came out in 1992 and was the brain child of Scottish secretary ,Ian Lang ( now residing in the House of Lords ). In a memo leaked at the time he said this “I judge that it is just what is needed at present in our campaign to maintain the initiative and undermine the other parties. This initiative could score against all of them”  

So lets have a look these latest figures , which of course are a year old and many of these figures are of unreliable source as some of them are compiled from block figures from which there seems to be no proper accounting, and for the split ,a population share is used. It might be a coincidence but the population share statistics seem to be from areas such as tourism  where a higher than 8.3% ( population share ) would be expected.

There is only one reliable aspect of GERS figures and that is to show what Scotland’s finances are like as part of the UK. There is no reliable way of using them to reflect what Scotland’s finances would be , as an independent country, therefore to put it simply the GERS figures show quite clearly that ,in every way, Scotland has to do better as an independent country than be a part of a union that is so inefficient that only  by being part of it could lead to a deficit situation almost every year.

There are two sets of figures ,income and expenditure. The income consists of taxes and revenue , payable in Scotland and  collected by and on behalf of Scotland ,mainly by the inland revenue service of the UK.

Expenditure is split into two sections , the first section is expenditure carried out  in Scotland by the Scottish government and the other section is expenditure carried out and apportioned to Scotland by Westminster and this is where the problem lies ,because Westminster would like you to believe that this expenditure would be carried out in Scotland regardless of whether it was independent or not and therein lies the deception, because it patently wouldn’t.

It would take far to long to go into all the ins and outs of the expenditure con, but to bring a few of the more glaring deceptions and save you falling asleep in the process of reading it here are a few things to chew on .

We presently pay the UK three billion pounds for the armed forces . Now two points here . Firstly it is expected that if we decide to have a full blown Army ,Navy and Air force, we could do it for two billion pounds , We also might decide not to have armed forces at all , in which case there would be no expenditure on this item. However  the thing about our present contribution is that very little is actually spent in Scotland as there is a small proportion of our armed forces based in Scotland and so most of this money is spent in England and of course in other places pursuing wars that not many people in Scotland supported. In an independent Scotland the two billion pounds spent on a defense force ,would in the main be spent within Scotland . So in other words an independent Scotland would ,compared to these figures, be the beneficiary of almost 3.5 Billion pounds more than at present in connection with the armed forces

A considerable amount of money spent on our behalf is spent on the upkeep of the Westminster parliament and of course the house of lords and apart  from our MP’s salaries none of this is spent in Scotland.

There are projects  which are deemed to be of advantage to Scotland, such as the proposed extension to Heathrow , London cross rail, the greater London sewer extension , the electric rail which will leave London and terminate at Leeds and of course, a few years ago  the Olympic games, which are also proportionally charged on a population basis (8.3%) to Scotland

We also of course pay our share of the huge foreign services budget together with the infrastructure and buildings both in London and all over the World which we would not need as we would enter into embassy sharing arrangements with other countries as do many small countries.

Then ,of course there is the national debt, which more accurately should be called the UK debt, because that is what it is, and an independent Scotland would have no legal responsibility for any of it as it was built up by successive incompetent governments ,both Tory and Labour and there is absolutely no reason why we should pay a penny of this. Ireland did not pay any  of this debt when they became independent in the early thirties so why should Scotland ? . Would you expect your kids to take on part of your mortgage when they leave home to start a new life ? Scotland also pays £2.7 Billion in UK debt interest each year

Ok so what about the actual figures and this fictitious “black Hole ”

Current revenues in Scotland                                £53.443 Billion

Current expenditure within Scotland                 £40.363 Billion

Credit Balance                                                             £13.080 Billion

Then comes the dodgy bit

Amounts charged to Scotland

by Westminster for items mentioned above

most of which we would not need in an

independent Scotland                                                   £28.014 Billion

This is where this fictitious black hole appears

And this leaves a theoretical deficit of                   14.934 Billion

which can only happen if Scotland remains part of the UK, in fact this is exactly WHY Scotland remains part of the UK.

Now the Scottish government must know this , so my question is this , why do they continually fudge the truth about this fictitious deficit ? I have heard Nicola Sturgeon actually say in relation to the GERS figures that “many small countries have deficits and an independent Scotland would manage a deficit quite well ”

Now an independent Scotland , in all probability would not have a budgetary deficit ( a deficit is different from debt) or at least a very small and manageable one , but one thing is certain and that is that it would bear absolutely no relation to the one that the UK government would lead you to believe and the Scottish government for some strange reason seem to blithely accept.

The GERS figures are certainly an unnecessary millstone that the SNP willingly seem to carry around their neck , why?



I have been in business for well over half a century but I learn something new every day. My politics are the middle of the road. I believe that the far-right and far-left are equally harmful. Jim Murphy ( at that time, leader of the Scottish Labour party) asked me if I called myself a socialist. I said, "no Jim, I am not a socialist, I am a capitalist, but a capitalist with a social conscience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: