Monday, 1 February 2010

Holywood magazine good news.

I have posted this as good news because at long last we are seeing the SNP nailing the lies and exposing Murphy for the nasty sneering anti Scottish Secretary, whos sole p[urpose in life like the rest of his corrupt party in Scotland is to undermine this nation. he will rue the day.
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Devolution dividend
Monday, 01 February 2010 15:04

On 25 January, the Scotland Office, under Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, published a paper purporting to represent a “Time Series Analysis of Government Expenditures and Revenues in Scotland”. It was given frontpage coverage in The Scotsman on that date.

This pro-Unionist propaganda paper was aimed at the SNP but it explicitly targeted, and demeaned, Scotland. It is nothing short of scandalous that taxpayers’ money should be utilised for that purpose.

The report claims that Scotland has had a £75.8bn “benefit” representing fiscal transfers from the rest of the UK to Scotland from 1999 to 2008; in other words, our tax proceeds fell short of what we were spending, yet no accurate figures are discernible. It asserts that “Scotland’s public finances exhibit a structural deficit, having not been in surplus since 1980-81”. It claims that, even the inclusion of all oil and gas revenues would leave a cumulative 1980-81 to 2007-08 deficit of £23.5bn.

However, the report falls at the first hurdle; in its introduction, reference is made to “estimates” from the GERS publication on which it is based. There are two major problems the authors have. First, it has been impossible to identify viable figures of Scotland’s tax take, for example, in GERS, so that raises questions about credibility. Secondly, any deficit has to be considered against the amount embedded in Scotland’s current block grant as a consequence of the extra money poured into Scotland in the postwar years, without budgetary justification, by respective Unionist parties in government at Westminster, to thwart the nationalist threat.

We have grounds to be sceptical about Mr Murphy’s agenda.

The Unionist parties are in some difficulty. The Barnett formula, introduced by the then Labour government in 1978, when we had a 22 per cent per head lead over England, was intended to cause convergence of the per-capita expenditure of Scotland and England. Had the Conservatives not put more in than the formula permitted, our lead would have fallen to single figures by 1997, instead of rising to 25 per cent. Had that not happened, our funding would not have been excessive and we would not have spent so much, thus making certain that we were in balance fiscally, and not operating on expenditure levels so far ahead of England – a cause of friction between the two countries.

The challenge for Labour is to produce an amended version of the report to exclude the additional funding referred to above; in other words, reducing our progressive block funding, pre- and post-devolution, to a level commensurate with England’s own per-capita spending. That would demonstrate the extent to which the Unionist parties caused the current situation to arise. We are where we are, but at least it would undermine the pernicious propaganda, which is one very good reason why we will not be seeing the truth of the matter.

In any event, the chickens will come home to roost when we move, as we certainly will, to a method of needs-based funding compatible with the requirements of all regions of the UK – an assessment by Professor David Bell in his article in The Scotsman on 8 December indicated that we could lose about £4.5bn of our resources. The irony is that the Unionist parties that put the extra money in in the first place will be the same that will be responsible for taking it out again! But they are on a hiding to nothing because their cherished Barnett formula, allowed to run on, will cause convergence, per capita, anyway!

One final thought: If Scotland is as dependent, as the paper claims, upon Social Protection Spending, then that is an indictment of Mr Murphy’s Labour government’s handling of the economy, which is largely reserved to Westminster, over the past thirteen years.

DOUGLAS MAYER

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