'Scotland subsidises rest of the UK' says leading economist

Calman proposals 'unworkable'

Scotland would be better off independent

A leading Professor of Economics, Andrew Hughes Hallett, has today [Saturday] confirmed that Scotland subsidises the UK treasury in London and that the unionist cabal’s Calman recommendations are unworkable.

Professor Hughes Hallett made the remarks whilst appearing on Radio Scotland’s ‘Newsweek’ show this morning. When questioned by presenter Derek Batemen on the economics of independence, the Professor confirmed John Swinney’s case that Scotland would be better off financially with economic independence.

The comments come just weeks after Nobel Prize winning economist Josef Stiglitz confirmed that the UK Government had ‘squandered’ Scotland’s oil wealth and the SNP’s plans for oil fund must be carried out as soon as possible.

Commenting on the remarks, Dundee West MSP Joe FitzPatrick, who is a member of the Parliament’s finance committee, said:

“Professor Hughes Hallet has confirmed what John Swinney and the SNP have been saying  for years. It’s economically unviable for Scotland to remain part of the union and subsidise the rest of the UK.  For years Scotland has more than paid its own way, only for unionist parties in Scotland to peddle the myth that it is the other way around.

“An Independent Scotland will be able to build the better and fairer Scotland we all want to see. With the cuts from ConDem coalition about to bite, the importance of the economic powers of independence has never been more important to Scotland.

“The SNP will be working hard over the next year to promote a better Scotland, a Scotland free from the financial ties of the union and a Scotland free from the Tories - and their cuts agenda. For too long Scotland has been held back by the union and held back by a Labour party who prefer Tory rule to home rule – it’s time to end that. It’s time to stand up for Scotland, let her flourish, and show that we’ve got what it takes to make Scotland better.”

Below are some extracts from Professor Hughes Hallett’s interview.
Newsweek Scotland, Saturday 23rd October 2010
Presented by Derek Bateman.

Interview with Andrew Hughes Hallett, Professor of Economics at the University of St. Andrews and George Mason University (Virginia).

Derek Bateman (DB):  “...that brings us nicely to Mr. Swinney who says all these cuts are the cost of the union and we can no longer afford our membership of club Britania. The implication is that our natural resources are being bled to swell around the coffers of the Treasury and the firm bite of austerity can be avoided via independence. Is there an election looming? Well we thought we would test his treaties, not with politicians but with one of our foremost  academics, Sir Andrew Hughes Hallett, who is a professor of economics at both the University of St. Andrews and George Mason University in Virginia. He’s a proponent of fiscal automony for Scotland, he went into our Washington Studio.”

Andrew Hughes Hallett (AHH):  “It’s really not an issue of independence as such, as it’s the ability to use and spend your tax powers yourself. Which would make the difference, whether that’s in the context of independence or not is neither here nor there.”
DB: “But would you not need to be an independent state in order to get those powers?”

AHH: “If you want to get into the nitty-gritty... the usual perception is that Scotland spends something like 20% more on public services per head than the UK average, now there is nothing wrong with that if you can raise the money. Those numbers are very misleading because the spending in that part is what is spent on behalf of Scotland but not necessarily in Scotland. The estimates of Scotland’s share, that’s contributions to defence is £2.8billion whereas roughly £2.0billion are actually paid out in Scotland. So there is an implicit subsidy going south in that sense and you can think of plenty more examples, I don’t want to get into North Sea Oil – which is an obvious one. But things to do with the crown agents who take fees for electricity generation and give it to the treasury, there use to be a case of landing fees. The foreign exchange earnings are, the tax revenues are all accredited to the London Government and so on. And so when you get down to it, on the current account for the last five years at least, maybe longer, Scotland’s had a current account surplus – which is currently, according to the National Accounts of Scotland is £1.3billion.”
DB: “Can you actually say that Scotland would definitely be better off or is there a lot of suspicion there?”

AHH: “No, you can definitely say that we would be better of f in terms of revenue. It would depend on what they do with the revenue when they get it but that’s another issue of course.”
DB: “Economically, not politically, does John Swinney have a case to make when he says that ‘Scotland can’t afford the union’?”

AHH: “Well, I would’ve thought he has a case. I mean you would probably think the same if it was your private income because at the moment on the current account there is a subsidy going to London.”
DB: “We hear from critics , well obviously unionists, most of them in London  about how that it goes the other way, Scotland is subsidised. If that was the case  then, why would the treasury want to hang on to an area of the country that was being subsidised?”

AHH: “...that’s not what the numbers show, that just the perception. If you actually look at the numbers, I quoted them for defence earlier , the distinction is what is said to be spent on Scotland’s half but is not actually spent in Scotland.”
DB: “Is another way of putting this is that the treasury knows when it is on to a good thing?”

AHH: “Well indeed, yes. I would’ve thought that if I subsidy. It’s not huge from a UK’s perspective but I wouldn’t want to be surrendering it because it is helping.”
DB: “Mr Swinney is making this case about the union, would something like the Calman proposals go anywhere near providing what you are outlining there?”

AHH: “They would make a very small start. We can have a very long discussion on this but the Calman proposals are actually unworkable because they assume you have information which you actually don’t have...”


Angus MacDonald slams UK Government for putting Scottish recovery at risk

Following the UK spending review statement by the Chancellor George Osborne, SNP Candidate for Falkirk East, Councillor Angus MacDonald has reacted to the UK announcements.

Angus MacDonald said:

“We suffered Labour’s recession and mismanagement and now ConDem cuts are on their way.

“This UK Chancellor’s budget represents a real terms cut to Scotland, where local government will be hit also. Spending cuts are worse than expected with £1.3bn from Scotland's revenue budget and £800m from the capital budget for this year alone, which threaten some 12,000 jobs in Scotland.

“These cuts are too quick, too deep and too fast and will severely hinder any prospect of recovery in Scotland, which we were already seeing signs of. This high risk strategy by the ConDem government will without doubt come back to haunt them.

“The Scottish Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, which stimulated investment by bringing forward capital projects and delivering an infrastructure programme worth £3.3 billion this year and brought much needed support for construction and employment is now at risk.

“Sadly, we have the same old Tories, now helped by the Liberal Democrats, cutting too far and too fast and leaving the poorest households to bear the brunt of tax rises, benefit cuts and the loss of public services and jobs.

“This programme of cuts, in the same week as Norway announced its Oil Fund stands at £326 billion, highlight the need for Scotland to secure economic and financial powers to grow the economy and boost revenues. Only the SNP has an alternative to the dire and depressing agenda of Labour cuts or Tory/LibDem cuts. Instead of accelerating cuts for Scotland we need our own powers – and the sooner, the better!

“At the Scottish election we need a first rate team fighting for Scotland who can build economic recovery and deliver a better and fairer Scotland – a first rate team for a second term, not a second rate opposition set for first time failure.”

Polls show SNP setting election pace

Voters accepting invitation to be part of better

The SNP has significantly closed the gap on Labour following the launch of the party's 2011 election campaign at its annual conference last weekend.

In a Yougov poll published in the Scotsman of 1,405 people across Scotland  taken  between the 18th and 20th October, just after SNP conference the party saw its share of the Holyrood vote increase by 5 points across both constituency and regional vote.

Labour’s vote has flat lined and the Lib Dems vote crumbled to its lowest level in over 9 years as people across Scotland chose to work together with the SNP to make Scotland better.

The SNP is polling at a higher level than at the same time prior to the 2007 election.  Since September the SNP vote has increased to 34% of the constituency vote and 31% of the regional vote – a 5% increase in both cases.

The poll puts the SNP on 34% in the constituency vote, against 40% for Labour, 14% for the Conservatives and 8% for the Lib Dems.  On the regional vote the SNP has increased to 31% against 36% for Labour, 15 for the conservatives and 8 for the Lib Dems.

Commenting on the poll SNP Campaign Co-ordinator and Moray MP Angus Robertson said:

"The SNP has fired the starting gun on the election campaign and these results show voters across Scotland are choosing to be part of better as we close the gap on Labour.

“Voters will not allow Labour to escape from their responsibility for the economic mess and the cuts coming Scotland’s way and it is clear the Lib Dems are paying a heavy price for backing the Tories.

“The SNP is the only party offering an alternative with the financial powers to manage Scotland’s economy and a fair deal for Scotland’s households by balancing government efficiencies, pay restraint and management cuts with a focus on frontline services , freezing council tax and abolishing prescription charges.

“And as we work towards the election next year we will continue to hear the priorities of the people of Scotland, their concerns, and ideas for the future as we work together people and politicians to make Scotland better.

“With Scotland’s only credible candidate for First Minister people are putting their trust in Alex Salmond and the SNP team to protect the things Scotland holds dear in the face of Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem cuts.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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