Finally the Barnett Formula comes in handy – for allocating Scotland’s national debt

Posted on January 1, 2012

A lot of thought’s being put into the practical implications of Scottish independence – I suspect that if the country doesn’t become independent this time (which more English voters support than Scottish voters), it probably will in the next decade or two.

It’s the practical ramifications which are increasingly causing Alex Salmond touble. The problem being that the SNP likes to have its cake and eat it, too. Take fiscal devolution – when the TaxPayers’ Alliance proposed full fiscal devolution to the Scottish Parliament (an SNP manifesto policy), SNP spokesmen blew their lid because the report also called for an end to English Barnett Formula subsidies for Scotland.

So it has been with Alex Salmond’s plan for full independence – he wants to take as many powers and assets as possible, but leave the nation’s debts squarely on the shoulders of English taxpayers.

For example, he thinks that North Sea oil and gas should be allocated geographically (giving the Scots over 80% of the revenue) but national debt should be allocated on a per capita basis only (giving the Scots just over 8% of the total bill). This is particularly relevant when you start to consider where the debt and liability for RBS would fall in you took a geographical approach to where debt should be allocated.

Happily, someone on the Government E-petitions site has come up with an elegant solution. When we calculate the share of the national debt to be allocated to an independent Scotland, why not use the Barnett Formula?

Yes, is means each Scottish person would have 22% more debt than each English person, but if it’s fair for dishing the cash out then surely it’s fair for sharing the burden of our debts, too?

I’ve signed the e-petition here – I hope you will, too.

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Categories: Economics, Opinion, Politics, Public spending

53 Responses

  1. Nick:

    And in the process we can off load RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), HBOS (Halifax Bank Of Scotland) and all their debts.

    If the Scots want to let their banks go bust, let them. However they caused the banking crisis, let them solve it.

    25.01.2012 18:43 Reply

    • Alex:

      RBS and HBOS are UK banks not Scottish.

      We, the UK tax payers, bought 80% of the shares of RBS, so we own it.
      Lloyds bought 100% of the shares of the nearly bust HBOS and we bough a big chunk but less than 50% of the shares in Lloyds. If the Scots want to take the shares of our hands, nobody is stopping them pay the full market price.

      26.01.2012 12:33 Reply

      • JH:

        Remind me what the ‘S’ stands for in RBS and HBOS again?

        Were they sitting on billions of assets rather than liabilities, I wonder if Mr Salmond would regard them as ‘UK banks’ or ‘Scottish banks’?

        Oh, and do English taxpayers get compensation for the Darien government imposed on them between 1997 and 2010?

        26.01.2012 12:40 Reply

        • Billo:

          Remind me what the ‘H’ stands for in HBOS again?

          26.01.2012 14:57 Reply

      • Mike:

        The Scots want a kinda pick n choose approach to independance. Oil, yes lovely we’ll have that on a geographich median basis by which Scotland gets 80-90% of the asset. Debt er no lets split that up on a per-capital basis. Scottish er no sorry UK banks, well those debts are the fault of the English regulators so the English can have those debts. It’s just not going to wash.
        The assets and liabilities of the UK have to be split on a per-capita basis which is basically a conversation on how much debt Scotland has on its books.

        26.01.2012 22:11 Reply

      • Richard Puller:

        As you say the UK owns 80%, we are still part of the UK therefore we will own 8% of it after Independence, simples. You all seemed to get muddled up that UK is England, hmmmm, now why is that?

        05.02.2012 16:46 Reply

    • Richard Puller:

      Not Scottish banks, UK banks. The law is that the country that the debt is generated in pays the debt. UK did not clear off any RBS debts wordlwide that was left to other countrys.
      But by all means please vent your vile racist rants, it’s highly entertaining to us that no the facts. ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!

      05.02.2012 16:26 Reply

    • robbie:

      Idiot… it was the rules put in place by the British Labour goverment that allowed the banks to do what they wanted… it would never be allowed to happen in an Independent Scotland. So uk caused the banking crisis … so you should pay for it

      06.02.2012 11:56 Reply

  2. Anthony:

    I’m writing an article on Scottish independence, and I was wondering what precisely the SNP said in response to the Taxpayer’s Alliance proposal for full fiscal devolution. I can’t seem to find a reference for it, on either the TPA or SNP websites.

    25.01.2012 21:18 Reply

    • Richard Puller:

      I think it was something like, mind you own f’n business.

      05.02.2012 16:41 Reply

    • markwallace:

      It was a BBC Radio Scotland debate, Anthony

      08.02.2012 12:53 Reply

  3. Lang Spoon:

    A few thoughts as both a Scot and a Brit:

    Firstly, the SNP does not seek “independence”, but “separation”, although they call it “independence” – which is isn’t – as they know that separating from London, but still being ruled from Brussels is not an attractive proposition.

    Secondly, the SNP is in many ways more like a cult than a serious political party. It is very big on PR, but very thin on genuinely thought out policy. The members just parrot party lines and endless sound bites thought up by a small clique round Salmond. eg “black gold”.

    Thirdly, we are close to the high water mark of SNP support and power. It is slowly dawning on rural Scotland that Salmond intends to turn the entire country in to an industrial wind farm of 300 and 400 feet high turbines at huge economic cost and to know benefit.

    Fourthly, most Scots don’t want separation. A substantial part of the vote for the SNP in the Scottish elections was simply on the basis that Salmond was a plausible first minister, but Gray was not.

    Fifthly, the world will almost certainly look a lot scarier and less stable shortly with the probable collapse of the Euro, islamist regimes in most middle eastern states and major war involving Israel. This will take the edge off the petty nationalisms within the Union.

    26.01.2012 09:20 Reply

    • Haggis:

      firstly, its independence not ‘separation’. The same independence that most countries around the world enjoy.

      second – it undermines any credible position you may have had to refer to the most popular political party and those who support it in terms of a ‘cult’. Change one letter and we get exactly what you are. Politician of the year, a party leader with higher approval ratings (by miles) of any party leader, a majority in a parliament where the voting system was designed not to return a majority. Take your fantasist ‘cult’ rubbish and shove it.

      thirdly, the SNP is enjoying new levels of membership rising at unprecedented levels. Hardly a pinnacle when they continue to rise every day, and local elections about to take place will certainly show growing support for the SNP.

      fourthly, and you have evidence to support your assertion? nope, didn’t think so. I think most educated observers agree that Labour deserted its core values and left the SNP as the only progressive left(ish) party in Scotland. They are also the only party who make decisions based on what is best for Scotland alone. Easy to see why folks deserted labour in droves. Gray was just the icing on the cake (remember the killing fields of Subway Grand Central Station hahaha)…

      Fifthly, and in the scenario you paint I’d much rather be in a balanced, fair, progressive Scotland than part of a union on the cusp of embarking on another war over oil (Iran)…

      So, any chance you could paint the details for the positive case to stay in this decrepit and corrupt union?

      26.01.2012 18:21 Reply

    • Richard Puller:

      HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa no no stop please…HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa oh god you could not make this tripe up HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

      05.02.2012 16:28 Reply

    • robbie:

      This is the sort of propaganda being drip fed to the people of Scotland by the BBC or better known as EBC, and just another reason why Scotland want’s to dump you.

      06.02.2012 11:51 Reply

    • McWard:

      It’s not Independence it Separation? What kind of nonsense is that? A slightly more sinister word for something that has happened to hundreds of countries throughout the world including Australia, Ireland and the USA who where once ruled from London. We could easily argue that it’s not unionism but imperialism as when you stop and think about it wouldn’t a Union imply 4 equal countries? That would mean England would have to have a separate parliament and first minister too.

      Also love the ‘most Scots’ part. It’s great to know these people who know the opinions of over 3 million Scottish people from Glasgow to Edinburgh, from the Borders to the Shetland isles. Weird how I know more die hard nationalists than die hard unionists, mind you I do live on the east coast. Perhaps we all forget that nearly 3rd of our nation actually don’t care one way or the other, the unionists love to include them as fellow anti-independents but they are just as easily anti-unionists. Unionists and Nationalists numbers are a lot closer that you think.

      19.02.2012 22:55 Reply

  4. Sophie:

    Purging socialism from England – that is the core reason why most English nationals want Scottish independence.

    Go Alex! Go Scotland!

    And just think of all the immigration & employment rules we can impose on the likes George Galloway, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair – & most of the presenters on Pravda BBC R4.

    Delicious. Bring it on.

    26.01.2012 14:00 Reply

  5. philip walling:

    What about repaying us with interest for their previous bailout in 1707 when we bought Scotland after the Darien Scheme fiasco, caused by Scots trying to o’er top England and have their separate trading empire.
    We should at least get our money back.

    27.01.2012 09:02 Reply

    • Richard Puller:

      Bribing some politicians is not buying a country you muppet! A union was formed, that’s all. And if you check the treaty of the Union the only country that can do anything legally about that treaty is Scotland, as it has it’s own parliament, England does not have a parliament and as such they have no legal jurisdiction on the treaty. Which means we can decide how many questions, what we ask, when we ask it, and if we want to leave or not. Not you.
      Check it out for yourself instead of opening up yourt ignorant racist mouth and spouting coocak.
      Best Regards Always

      05.02.2012 16:36 Reply

    • The Nordic Celt:

      The Darien colony failed because William who was meant to be king of Scots as well as England ordered that no English Caribbean outpost was to help them if they got into trouble. Furthermore, when a ship full of survivors arrived in New York the governor refused to allow them off.
      I would suggest Philip that if you are going to use historic events for an argument then research fully before hand.

      05.02.2012 20:06 Reply

  6. Scottish Taxpayer:

    Re langspoon,

    Your contribution is the most lucid, aaccurate and balanced appraisal of what SNP and AS is all about,

    I am an Englishman living in Scotland, for what is now, more than half my life, I have a very wide and varied circle of friends and business colleagues, and there is not a single person amongst them who is in favour of seperation, with the sole exception of one, who just happens to be a member of, yes, youv’e guessed it the SNP!,

    The only reason SNP was voted in, in the first place, was to break the stranglehold that Labour has had on Scotland, and yes, SNP’s policies are very short on the ground, probably less policies than Tory MP’s !, and speaking of Tory MP’ ( or lack of them ), the snide commentator who remarked that there were more giant pandas in Scotland them Tory MP’s, was correct, and even I had a laugh, but what he and others forgot, over 30% of Scots voted for them in the last election, including me, so do we just disregard almost a third of the population as if they are not entitled to any opinion,

    The strength of Scotland and its future does not lie in its Independance, but in the strength and unity of GREAT Britain, badly led as we have been by successive governments, the typical Briton still has the basic character and qualities that built the Empire, fought wars for freedom ( together SCots, English, Welsh and Irish together with all the brave brothers of the Commonwealth and other parts of the world, and made us the most respected and admired country in the world and created the model that many countries adopted for themselves,

    Having said all that, give Salmon credit where its due, he did drag a raggle taggle party together, and got them elected, but remember, all he has to offer is WORDS, and he is very good with those, as an obvious megamaniac, he has only one agenda, and that is Alec Salmon.

    27.01.2012 10:41 Reply

    • robbie:

      So , you want Scotland to have more of same, worst state pension in western Europe, old people dying of the cold, more child poverty, etc etc , the list goes on and on. I am still waiting for one positive suggestion from unionsts as to why we would be better in this aberration of a union, all we get are lies and scare mongering .. well i have news for you, the more you lie , the more Scots will steer away from you. But…… I guess you have to lie and scaremonger….. its all you have to offer… no positive mention of anything for Scotland in this union.

      06.02.2012 11:47 Reply

  7. Paul:

    Remember that the Protestants in Northern Ireland are largely of Scots descent – and the roots of the conflict there, and the related cost footed by generations of English taxpayers, lie in a decision taken by James VI of Scotland, aka James I of England. Given this history, it would only be just that Scotland should pick up at least half the costs that have arisen from that conflict and the ongoing subsidy to NI. Clearly, should the UK break up completely, England would carry similar responsibilities to Wales.

    27.01.2012 21:38 Reply

    • Richard Puller:

      Erm I think again it was footed by UK tax payers, there you go again England = UK, UK = England, It’s in the name silly U N I T E D KI N G D O M, stop me at the difficult part.

      05.02.2012 16:50 Reply

    • BlahBlah:

      i think what you mean when you say “the related cost footed by generations of English taxpayers” is actually “the related cost footed by generations of BRITISH taxpayers”. you seem to be implying that either, 1. that only English citizens pay tax or 2. England = Britain. Either way its misleading. just saying.

      05.02.2012 17:08 Reply

    • BlahBlah:

      you are misleading people by saying the following “the related cost footed by generations of English taxpayers”. You should have said “the related cost footed by generations of BRITISH taxpayers” as the English are not the only citizens in the U.K. who pay taxes. Or is it possible you just made the very common mistake of England = Britain/U.K?

      06.02.2012 17:03 Reply

  8. h gomer:

    I am writing an article about the financial risks for Scotland come independence. Anyone feel passionate about financial (or no) risks to fulminate here? My gut feeling is that a free Scotland will get into financial hot water fairly quickly because it will be in effect a sort of third world country. Are those who could loan going to? Is the City bothered? Bank of last resort – JK Rowling?

    31.01.2012 12:37 Reply

    • David Milligan:

      The reason that people like me want separation/independence/re-attainment of nation status etc etc etc is simple, the Act of Union 1707 has worked against the Scottish people. If the Union had been set up fairly then there would have had to have been an equal number of representatives from each of the two countries sitting in Westminster when the Union was kicked off. As it was, the Scottish voice was drowned out. That is unfair and undemocratic.

      Adding to this, we have seen a situation where due to the skewed seat of power, Scotland doesn’t benefit from her own resources and we have seen an unfair advantage given to London and the South East of England through successive parliaments. Our people are left in a terrible state whilst money is pulled from Scotland to fund any number of projects that benefit the South of the UK. Think about that one for one moment. It could even be argued that the North of England is in a similar state but that is possibly where the argument for independence has a benefit for England. If Scotland removed assent for the Act of Union 1707 then the Westminster Parliament would have to deal with the situation in the North of the country and as a result the Northerners would ultimately benefit by a re-balancing of finances.

      There have been many times when the administration in Westminster have “covered up” the true economic position of Scotland and in fact they are still doing it today as can be seen if any of you download and do a bit of digging in the “GERS” report. This is just human nature at play again. Scotland produces a lot of wealth for the UK and contrary to popular belief, more than pays her way. The Nationalists in Scotland were responsible for the obfuscation of Westminster because as the Nationalists in Scotlands’ voice grew, there was a very real prospect that they would seek independence, Westminster could not afford to lose (certainly in the 70′s) such a golden goose when in all respects they were pretty broke.

      I’m trying not to judge here but instead trying to see both sides of the situation. So, it’s a given that the UK has benefitted from the oil and gas revenues. The figure that is generally settled on is somewhere between £300 – £323 Billion over the last 34 years. Solid estimates give another 40 years of oil and gas production in Scotland and given that the price for these commodities tend to go up as they become more scarce, that means that an independent Scotland would have the wealth to tackle all the really nasty problems that Scotland has at the moment. Our lifestyle would improve and we would have a more egalitarian society. Problems don’t always go away no matter how much money you throw at them, but child poverty and mass unemployment and costly, poor quality social housing are all inextricably linked and therefore the wealth of our nation and a reindustrialisation would have a resoundingly positive impact on the lives of those at the bottom of the social strata, and then position them to take up the opportunities that would exist.

      You see (and I’m sure you know), child poverty lies at the bottom of a pyramid of social and economic dysfunctionality and the only way to tackle it is to deal with all the root causes. Without independence, all we can do is tinker round the edges, no more than that, and it doesn’t matter who is in power in Holyrood, the situation would remain the same because Westminster would never give us the wealth that would be needed to sort it properly.

      I would ask that we define the word “oppression” in our case. We seem to have free speech (we’re having a free debate) so no problem there. However we don’t have the ability to help our own people and Westminster are certainly not going to cough up the cash for us to do it, so there is a problem there, and because we have been lied to about our true financial position in an effort to keep us under control, I would in this sense call that a form of oppression. I don’t feel oppressed personally, but that’s just because of my particular circumstances, however, I can’t ignore the plight of people who are unable to break out of their circumstances because opportunities don’t exist for them to do so.

      It is down to you and me, to find a way to give these people a chance in life so that we don’t have any more lost generations due to deprivation and mass unemployment. If we ignore those at the bottom of our society then it cheapens us all and society as a whole suffers.

      That’s why I’d like us to separate and become the Scotland that I know we can be, a Scotland that we all know where we’d like to live and prosper in. If someone came along and told me a way where we could achieve all this without independence then I assure you I would be listening. Promises though, are not enough, “jam tomorrow” has been tried before and we were lied to on that one. This time whatever the answer, it has to be for keeps and it has to be for Scotland.

      05.02.2012 22:44 Reply

    • robbie:

      Go read the GERS report… Scotland has been subsidising the rest of UK….and that official report

      06.02.2012 11:40 Reply

  9. Geoff,:

    What about giving the constituents of Cowdenbeath & Kirkcaldy the bill for the entire Divided Kingdom’s debts and deficit? They were stupid and selfish to vote Brown in each time.

    04.02.2012 10:20 Reply

  10. Richard Puller:

    The financial risks to Scotland after Independence are a damned sight less than they are now, that’s for sure.
    And why is that you want us to stay in this Union, why are you all so p’d off that we want to leave, after all we are a charity basket case, who is draining England huge vast wealth. Unless of course you have swallowed all the bull that comes from Westminster. Infact you probably work there, hence the smell from your breath.

    05.02.2012 16:40 Reply

    • markwallace:

      I don’t want you to stay, Richard – as an Englishman of (long distant) Scottish descent, I’d be delighted if you left.

      08.02.2012 12:56 Reply

  11. tartanfever:

    Never read so much guff in all my life. Little englanders dreaming of empire and bygone days. You people really are the dregs, nothing positive to say, nothing to offer except greed and schoolboy playground antics ala Thatcher. You really are the brain washed, no hopers of a lost country that doesn’t have a clue what it stands for anymore. Riots in the street last summer, waste billions on a summer sporting event while people in your country are struggling to make ends meet and even put food on the table.
    What a joke. Apparently your known for your sense of fairplay,, something thats meant to distinguish you. Personally I’ve never understood that claim, as most of the time you act like trumped up little despots. You complain about Europe but your quite happy to become the next state of the USA.
    Time to have a good look at who you are and what exactly it is you stand for, because the rest of the world is just laughing at you.

    As for the debt, give it a couple of months when the credit rating is downgraded and the loans can’t be paid. It’ll be bye bye England as we cut off the electricity supply and leave you in the dark.

    05.02.2012 17:24 Reply

    • markwallace:

      Let’s wait and see, tartan!

      08.02.2012 12:57 Reply

  12. Bill McLean:

    It is clear from what I read here that most of you know nothing of Scotland – that’s fine why should you.
    I’m not that interested in England. The 2 Banks losses were 90% in England and overseas so as is practice the host country buys out the debt. Don’t ever let the facts get in the way. Wonderful that the English and the Spanish got together to destroy the Darien expedition. Napoleon was right “perfidious Albion” and the Aussies – the sun will never set on the British Empire – you can’t trust the bast…. in the dark” You won’t mind me conflating Britishness with England – that’s the way you think. Take you nukes leave us our stolenoil (Read McCrone report) and stop being such a bunch of arrogant and ignorant fools!

    05.02.2012 18:07 Reply

  13. Robert Peffers:

    I wonder if anyone may care to back up their claims with actual official figures?
    Not that I would consider holding my breath awaiting a reply. I asked that question when Barnett first made his formula known. I still have no serious answers. Here is a clue – The North Sea Oil and Gas revenues are up to 98% from Scotlands territorial waters. Yet Scotland is only credited with a per capita share of the excise raised. Ever heard of Extra Regio Territories? Do you know where they are located?
    If you cannot answer those simple questions you just do not know what you are talking about. What does that make you?

    05.02.2012 19:06 Reply

  14. Robert Peffers:

    Here is another little factoid. There is only ONE independent Bank in the Entire UK, The Airdrie Savings Bank. All others, except the Bank Of England, are Public limited companies. That means they are floated on the London Stock exchange and owned by shareholders. The Bank of England isn’t English. It was nationalised by the UK, (not English), goverenment in 1946. In 1998 it was made an independent bank by Gordon Brown.

    05.02.2012 19:11 Reply

  15. Robert Peffers:

    As for that Bail-out of Banks – the Government did not spend cash on those Bail-outs. All it did was stand guarantor but did not need to spend any cash. It did buy shares and could just wait until those shares rose above the value paid and make a profit.

    05.02.2012 19:14 Reply

  16. Robert Peffers:

    I’ve come across many uninformed people in my lifetime but there seems more than the average ignorance on these pages.

    05.02.2012 19:16 Reply

  17. Robert Peffers:

    Just a note on dictionary terms. Separate means physically pull apart. Are the English going to pull England out into the Atlantic? Independent means not depending on authority or control. Go and learn to speak your native language properly.

    05.02.2012 19:21 Reply

    • markwallace:

      Whilst we subsidise BBC Alba for no-one to watch your native language on TV…

      08.02.2012 12:59 Reply

  18. Robert Peffers:

    As to the English Taxpayer subsidising the Scots. How do you explain that after balencing the books the Scottish Government has been in Surlpus for 5 out of the last six years. During those six years is the period that the United Kingdom has run up £3 Trillion in bebt. Now consider that England has no treasury, (it is the UK’s), England has no Parliament, Wastemonster is also the UK’s and the Welsh, N.Irish and Scots also pay tax. In fact the Scots Gross Domestic Product is greater than that of England. As I already asked – anyone, care to back up their claims with real official figures?

    05.02.2012 19:28 Reply

  19. Robert Peffers:

    Please go and learn your nations history. Your ignorance is showing again. First of all The Darian Expedition was in the late 1690s. The reason for it waqs due to the results of the English Transportation Acts. These not only saw English mercantile robbery of Scotland’s trade but had caused English wars with several continental countries. The Expedition was doomed after the English had promised an Anglo-Dutch investment of 50% was withdrawn AFTER the ships, crews and stores were bought. Not only that but the Monarch, (who was that of both countries), ordered the Royal navy NOT to aid the expedition. The Monarch also ordered the Army NOT to aid the Expedition on the Ismus after they landed. Which brings us to the TREATY OF UNION 1707. ONLY TWO signatories by TWO Equal sovereign states on that treaty. At that time, (as mentioned), England had MASSIVE national debt by fighting those wars I mentioned. Scotland were indeed broke BUT HAD NO NATIONAL DEBT. So TWO Sovereign countries ONLY, ONE TREATY, one pulls out and the treaty is ended. ONLY TWO countries signed so where are you getting this strange idea there will be a RUMP UK when the TWO part company? Wastemonster is THE UNITED KINGDOM PARLIAMENT formrd by THE TREATY OF UNION and that is now ended and ENGLAND has NO Parliament of her own. Wastemonster cannot assume the role as the Members were elected to a UK Parliament that no longer exists. Remember also that ALL assets of that UK Parliament ARE NOT ENGLISH, they are British and thus there must be negotiations to share them out, (under international supervision), but England has no legally elected parliament to negotiate on her behalf. The Civil Service is that of the UK too. There is only one way for a legal English Parliament to be formed, (England is a constitutional monarchy), Her Majesty must summon someone and order that someone, “To form Her Majesty’s English Parliament”. That then requires a properly organized election BUT THERE IS NO ENGLISH CIVIL SERVICE.
    Are you beginning to get the real picture now? Be afraid, be very afraid, be very, very afraid.
    Have a nice day.

    05.02.2012 19:53 Reply

  20. Truth Teller:

    Scotland has paid a surplus to Westminster coffers for decades (reluctantly confirmed by Tory government in the past, economists and the paperwork, no less). That’s not even counting several industries that are bled and fed straight to Westminster and not counted in Scotland’s side of the coffers (oil, fishing, whisky, etc.). So in reality Scotland’s side on payments is even higher in the balance. How exactly can a region that has paid more than it has used be blamed for the debt of another government which spent itself into oblivion? That’s Westminster’s fault. If anything Scotland is owed money after constantly giving it to England for years. You’d better start adding up on the calculator how much you can afford to repay on Scotland’s generosity of you’re keen to settle things. Of course Scotland’s leadership has been kind enough to let this slide so far, so perhaps you’ll be given it as yet another gift from Scotland’s always generous people.

    Lets not forget that Scotland has a budget, a block grant, while England does not and can spend, spend, spend with the power to borrow (and this create all that debt you love to bring up) as the “UK” even more when they find they’ve spent too much again. Dont’ forget all those “UK” projects that cost absolute fortunes but benefit London but are not counted in their share of the spend and are instead spread across to Wales, NI and Scotland too – London orbital motorway, Channel tunnel, Olympics, etc. Constant massive spending by Wastermonster which is all fed into the books as “UK” spending as they do not have to work within a budget and simply borrow whatever they want. There has also long been a steady reduction of defence spending in Scotland while there’s been a higher spending in London. This is not taken into account either. All this goes on while Scotland works within a set budget, every cost is recorded, does not borrow and returns a surplus to the Treasury.

    So many fearmongers convienently ignore the facts and truth to spin, spin, spin the old biased anti-Scots nonsense. They all need to do more research. The old lies are worn out as people are seeing the truth shining through. Lies don’t last forever in the face of scrutiny.

    RBS’s business and liabilities were based far more in London and internationally than in Scotland itself. Only a small fraction of that business was in Scotland (remember it had previously merged years ago with a larger London based firm) and by international convention and precedent the Scottish would only need to bail out that part, if they chose to do so at all. With the healthy surplus in an independant Scotland it could easily have manged it. This is simple fact and any research outside of the shoddy anti-Scots London media would confirm this.

    The problem with scaremongers and venemous haters in the media and online is that they don’t bother to actually read up on the reality and laws before they start frothing with glee and hoping to see people hurt or miserable. International law and precedent is very much on the side of the SNP. Alex and the rest have played it by the book, more considerate and accommodating than they even needed to be, all out of a sense of fairness and decency. A sense that the ignorant Westminster politicians clearly lack as they rant and rave about pandas, not promoting whisky for free (when it turned out they didn’t anyway as they already charge Scotland for it) or not being able to use the pound (only to have the Treasury correct the ignorant Westminster politicans on the reality of it, further humiliating the fearmongering and ignorant unionist camp). This is why so many use the same old falsehoods and cliches again and again, despite them being debunked long ago. They are running out of material. They have their backs against the wall and reality is closing in.

    The SNP have all the backing of reality, the figures, respected economists, etc. They have made a positive case for independence again and again. Scotland would rocket up the charts of wealthiest nations in the world once it becomes independent, leaving the rump UK far lower in the charts…perhaps these are things the scaremongers would have learned if they’d bother to do the research?

    Tell me again…what is the positive case for the union? Still waiting on that after 300 years. You’d think that would be long enough to manage it. Even the leader of that union couldn’t manage it, delaying tactics employed, promising to come up with it…eventually…one day. When the leader of it can’t make that case on the spot then it’s a joke, plain and simple, as even he’s struggling to think of a reason for it to exist any longer.

    I’d like to think that most people are simply misled by the biased media or politicians. I hope that you will do the research as frankly there’s no way you can’t come to the same conclusion as the independance supporters after doing it.

    I’m certain that England itself is getting the shaft too. This is why Westminster fears English nationalism so much. They’ve realised they’ve used the bogeyman of Scotland as the modern version of the Jews in 1930’s Germany (They steal all the money! They control us! etc., all classic scaremongering and slander that is used to divide and conquer) The idea that the books will be picked over and errors and oddities will be found fills them with terror and they’ll do anything to stop the English from getting a good look or more direct access to it and power. I suspect there’s a few black holes that have been eating English and Scottish money while they play the two groups off each other and ensure the politicians and their cronies can ride the Westminster gravy train all their life. Otherwise they should have nothing to fear and wouldn’t be running scared like they are now. The English people deserve their freedom, a parliament and a shake up of the political system too. I’m certain they’ll be better off, more confident and happier after it, just as Scotland will. I look foward to the day when two independant, democratic and prosperous neighbours can stand together as equals without malice or grudges and toast to each other’s success, rather than clinging on in a bitter and loveless marriage doomed to failure.

    Saor Alba, Saor Sasana! Free Scotland, Free England!

    05.02.2012 21:30 Reply

  21. Dave McEwan Hill:

    Is it just you or do all the English people belie ve the rubbish you have just written?. You’re about tenyears behind this debate. As Scotland is liable to its share of theUK national debt it also owns its proportionate share UK national assets. Perhaps you hadn’t realised that but Scotland owns about 10% for instanc of the Bank of England and its gold and foreign currency reserves, 10% of the UK’s defence porrfolio annd every thing else. Ypi appear to have missed thefact hat the Halifax took over the Bank of scotland years ago but it willcome still as a surprise to the people of Yorkshire that Halifax is a Scottish bank. Likewise RBS which is also Nat West, Ulster Bank and many banks around the world . These were both huge city of London international banks each with less tha 5% Scottish ownership. I find it hard to believe that you believe this political nonsense.

    05.02.2012 22:04 Reply

  22. Dougie Douglas:

    H Gomer: ” I am writing an article about the financial risks for Scotland ……..My gut feeling is that a free Scotland…….. will be in effect a sort of third world country”

    You really could not make up this sort of nonsense, what an utter load of claptrap you will writing. I look forward to the day, some time after independence, when it dawns on all you little englanders that Scotland has been subsidising you, not the other way around.


    05.02.2012 23:12 Reply

  23. Dave McEwan Hill:

    Two things I find disappointing and disturbing.
    1) The incredible ignorance about Scotland which is to be found on these blogs coupled with a complete lack of understanding about the fiscal arrangements of the UK. As the standard of response on this blog is infantile or worse I wont bother explaining lots of stuff as most correspondents couldn’t understand it.
    I will make three points
    1) The Barnett Formula was introduced to squeeze the Scottish budget down on the figures of identified expenditure. It is doing so. Sadly the “identified expenditure” is an arbitrary selection of Scottish public expenditure which covers only about 60% of Scottish public expenditure, mostly on social spending which Scotland’s geography determiness is fairly high. Nor does it take any account for instance of Government procurement in Scotland of which Scotland pnly gets about 4% -or less.
    .than half it’s appropriate share.
    2. The myth of Scottish subsidy was a lie spun to frighten timid Scotsa out of going for independence. It wasn’t meant to escape into England. It has done so and the delicious irony is that it is having an opposite effect to what was its intention. Its making lots of English folk want rid of Scotland out of the UK. The Government is now faced with the dilemna of allowing this to go on by not telling the truth or telling the truth ie that the subsidy runs slightly the other way and that without the collateral being provided by oil revenues for the huge extra borrowing UK would be broke , whereupon the lie studiously pedallled to the Scots of subsidy is demolished and the growing number of Scots moving to independence will become a torrent.
    3. Scotland economy is much balanced than the UK’s as a whole. Its percapita deficit annually is lower than the Uk’s, it has produced a budget surplus in four of the last five years and has done so for most of the last fifty years,
    Why ever would the UK want to hang onto Scotland if it was a subsidy junkie?

    The UK economy is struggling as it is hugely reliant on the money lenders trying to make money out of money rather than out of production. The lower half of UK is underproductive, overpaid, underpowered and overcrowded and its prospects are dire.Thankfully we’ll be getting out.

    The oither thing that disappoints me is the vicious bile directed against Scotland in these blogs and the continuous misinformation about Scotland and Scotland’s attitude being given to the people of England by the sort of rubbish emanating from the English right wing.

    05.02.2012 23:29 Reply

  24. robbie:

    ll you Zombie unionists out there … get used to it, Scotland id going independent… lets see how the remaining part of britain get on without our oil.. Scots havn’t forgot the McCrone report or how you moved Scotlands maritime boundaries into English waters…The UK is corrupt and Scotland will do very nicely on her own ..Thnk you

    06.02.2012 11:38 Reply

  25. robbie:

    Pressure increases on BBC as First Minister questions political impartiality.

    06.02.2012 11:52 Reply

  26. McWard:

    Tell you what how about the UK Government gives Scotland the back pay for the oil they’ve had for the last 3 decades and we’ll pay that 22% national debt. Also we get a 22% refund on the Euro tunnel and Olympic games? Great.

    19.02.2012 22:36 Reply

  27. Theo:

    If Scotland wants refunds, that would suit. because it certainly wasn’t Scotland who paid for the development of the oil fields, it certainly wasn’t Scotland who paid for the most of the wonderful parliament building in Edinburgh. It isn’t even Scotland who pays for the benefits you seem to forget about north of the border. How much do you actually contribute to your own education, or even higher education you now enjoy free? The oil isn’t “yours”, if you had any sense you’d look at the share distribution and realise that most of the companies are owned elsewhere. To take what is “yours” you would have to compensate those who actually own the platforms, the infrastructure and the technology as a bare minimum.
    Salmond really hasn’t thought this through, and I guarantee that if you do have this referendum, and if you do vote for independance (feel free to dance around any other phrases, but that’s his words!) he will jump through hoops to either delay it it not implement it. The fact is, and this is a fact, that you simply do not have a sustainable income which would make independance a viable option. 50 years worth of oil will not keep a nation. You will become a nation of wind farms, reliant on imported goods because you cannot be self sufficient (No, neither can any other UK nation, but here at least, England is better placed)). Given the outlay for basic food stuffs once you have all associated taxes to pay it will soon be obvious that independance will be a mistake for you but a profit for us. Good luck with that one.

    14.03.2012 16:52 Reply

  28. bill:

    Royal Bank of Scotland:  The cost of bailing out RBS would have bankrupted an independent Scotland.Scottish GDP in 2008 was an estimated £145 billion.  The cost to the UK of the RBS / HBOS bail out in 2008 was £88 billion.  However the actual Scottish share on a per capita basis was £8.8 billion, and on the debt accrued by the Scottish registered banks which would have been an independent Scotland’s liability is estimated at £2.4 billion.  We’d only have had to cough up even that much assuming that Scotland implemented the same slash-and-burn approach to regulation of the financial sector as Westminster.The Unionists would have us believe that we’d be bankrupted by the price of a £1 bus fare out of a London riot zone, even though we’ve got £75 in our pocket.  And we can reasonably hope to get a refund on that bus ticket at some point in the future.It wasn’t Scotland that allowed bankers to run riot, it was Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.  Brown and Darling and their ilk are effectively telling us we can’t be independent because they’re so bleedin’ incompetent.  But we already know that, which is why we’re not so inclined to vote for them any more.As Andrew Hughes Hallett. Professor of Economics at St Andrew’s University, put it, speaking on Radio Scotland.”The real point here, and this is the real point, is by international convention, when banks which operate in more than one country get into these sorts of conditions, the bailout is shared in proportion to the area of activities of those banks, and therefore it’s shared between several countries.  In the case of the RBS, I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but roughly speaking 90% of its operations are in England and 10% are in Scotland, the result being, by that convention, therefore, that the rest of the UK would have to carry 90% of the liabilities of the RBS and Scotland 10%.  And the precedent for this, if you want to go into the details, are the Fortis Bank and the Dexia Bank, which are two banks which were shared between France, Belgium and the Netherlands, at the same time were bailed out in proportion by France, Belgium and the Netherlands.”

    09.10.2012 20:14 Reply

  29. bill:

    It’s unclear how long the oil will last for (see Oil) but most projections say that it will continue to generate a significant income for Scotland for a good few decades to come, and possibly 50 years or more.  As oil becomes an increasingly scarce resource, its market value will only increase.  A 50% drop in oil production doesn’t necessarily translate into a 50% drop in revenue.Scotland’s oil doesn’t currently pay for Scotland’s public services.  Scotland’s oil revenues contribute to government expenditure across the entire UK.  All the oil income goes to Westminster, along with all the other tax revenues, and Westminster decides how much pocket money to allow the Scottish Parliament.  Westminster makes the decisions on how to spend Scotland’s oil money, but Westminster doesn’t choose to spend it on creating an oil-fund for Scotland, it prefers to pay the costs of privatisations, tax-cuts to the wealthy, London’s sewer and railway upgrades, nuclear warheads, and a host of other things an independent Scotland would neither need nor want.Only independence can ensure that Scotland’s oil revenues are spent on developing a sustainable and broad economy which will guarantee our living standards in the long term.  If we continue to allow Westminster to control the oil cash, it will be spent on “UK national” projects like the four billion quid upgrade to London’s sewer system.  Scotland’s future is, quite literally, being flushed away down a Westminster lavvy.If Scotland does not take the opportunity of independence, then after the oil runs out we really won’t be able to afford to pay for public services, which will be privatised by then.  Westminster will have pulled the chain on them.

    09.10.2012 20:19 Reply

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