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Letters to the Press, 17/08/23: Green Harvey is the Scottish Government Now.

John Swinney’s ropey relationship with reality – Dean Thomson

Scotland’s public spending deficit hits record of nearly £2,200 a head – The Guardian

Letters to the press, 25/08/22: “the lesson which she and all nationalists ought to learn from GERS is so simple surely only the infantile could miss it: even if they want independence, Scotland cannot afford it.”

Richard Murphy on GERS: The Perpetually Baffled Man – Chokka Blog

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I’m writing a serious blog on GERS and really don’t want it to get bogged down by engaging with the frankly bonkers claims made by the perpetually baffled GERS-denier in chief, Richard Murphy.

To engage with Murphy on the topic of GERS is as pointless and frustrating as trying to play chess with a pigeon (while wrestling a pig). But I recognise that some of you might think that describes an amusing spectator sport, so let me use this blog to deal with some of his recent – um – “contributions to the debate”.

My starting point is his appearance on the “GERS – Scotonomics Special“. This is an hour of video and I only made it 5 minutes in before I realised that I simply couldn’t sit through any more of it because life, like me, is too short.

Scottish independence: The cost of leaving the UK would fall heaviest on the poorest communities – The Scotsman

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We would be doing so without the safety net of the reserves and international borrowing power that we have in the UK.

Nationalists try to dismiss this, but it is hugely important. Without this, borrowing money is much more expensive and this would have to be paid for down the line.

In addition, if Nicola Sturgeon had her way, she would be starting off on a recovery mission with a deficit of 22.4 per cent of GDP, compared to just 14.2 per cent across the entire UK.

As the economic facts change, the SNP simply recalibrates the truth – CapX

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To summarise, the GERS figures concluded that last year, Scots enjoyed public spending levels that outstripped tax revenue by more than £36 billion. That figure has more than doubled since the previous year’s deficit of £15 billion, largely because of measures to support the economy during the Covid pandemic.

From a purely economic perspective (and we should remind ourselves that the fight to keep Scotland inside the UK involves many areas other than the economy), this is, of course, terrible news for the SNP and its never-ending campaign to destroy the Union. It presents a very real and immediate challenge to those who would govern Scotland after it became a self-governing nation, free from the influence – and the financial support – of the rest of the UK.

Essentially, this means that a newly independent Scotland would have to take two immediate actions: the first would be to implement colossal, eye-watering cuts to public services, something few independence-supporting Scots would have endorsed in any referendum campaign.

 

Independent Scotland would need to ‘raise taxes or cut spending’, claims think tank – Daily Record

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While Scotland’s deficit will likely fall as the covid crisis recedes, it will remain substantially higher than the UK’s

The annual GERS report shows the deficit reached a record 22.4% of GDP in 2020/21, as coronavirus led to considerably higher public spending.