Just so that I don’t lose this one…..

This is just so that I don’t lose this post which a friend put on Facebook.  It’s a brammer!

” Unionists should hold their heads in shame. Scotland’s economy has suffered this last 2 years due to the drop in OIL price, but they conveniently forget that same OIL has propped up the UK economy for the last 40 years. Scotland gets no thanks for that, we are just told we would become a basket case out with Westminster Rule, they conveniently forget Scotland asked for an OIL fund decades ago and this was refused, wonder what our deficit would be if they had said YES perhaps more like Norway who has no deficit and the largest savings in the world of almost 1 trillion. They completely ignore if Scotland is in a mess it’s because the regime they support has failed Scotland, yet they want more of the same.

The media rarely mention that the UK for the last 40 years has had a deficit and debt, that debt now sits at 1.7 trillion. Scotland was in surplus for 38 of those 40 years.

Scotland has no deficit as we have no borrowing powers, our false deficit comes from the UK borrowing on our behalf, however, let’s look at that false deficit.

1) We didn’t create it.

2) The total worth of the UK assets are approx £8.8 trillion!! We own 8.3% of this! DEFICIT GONE.

3) Scotland contributes to London projects like:
CROSSRAIL, LONDON – £18 BILLION
OLYMPICS, LONDON – £8 BILLION
REFURBISHMENT OF UNDERGROUND, LONDON – £16 BILLION
NEW AIRPORT/3RD RUNWAY, LONDON (god knows how many billion)
NEW SEWAGE TUNNEL, LONDON – £16 BILLION
REFURBISHMENT ST PANCRAS STATION, LONDON – £1 BILLION
HS2 RAIL LINK, LONDON TO BIRMINGHAM – 50 BILLION
and many more future projects like Westminster renovations etc

TOTAL COST £109 BILLION PLUS our share 8.3% DEFICIT GONE.

Scotland and England have been in the Union for 308 years, Westminster has had full control of Scotland’s economy for 289 of those years. When Scotland was given her own parliament 17 years ago it had 6% devolved power, numerous years later this increased to 15% by the year 2017 we will have approx 25% if Scotland is in a mess that blame lies squarely at Westminster’s door.

Scotland is a country with an embarrassment of economic advantages that any small to medium-sized independent country would give their left arm for.

Just look at similar-sized populations to Scotland

Norway owns half the OIL in the North Sea, 30% of their GDP is reliant on OIL when the OIL crashed our GDP dropped by 1% of course they have an OIL fund that Westminster refused for Scotland.

Denmark would love to have a national drink that generated £120 of exports per second.
38 bottles were shipped overseas each second.
99 million cases (12 70cl bottles at 40% vol) were exported worldwide.
Laid end to end they would stretch about 30,000kms – or about six times the distance between Edinburgh and New York.
More than 10,000 are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry – many in economically deprived areas.
Over 40,000 jobs across the UK are supported by the industry.
Scotch Whisky accounts for around a quarter of UK food and drink exports.
Scotch Whisky is sold in around 200 markets worldwide.
Scotch Whisky sells three times its nearest rival whisky.
Drinkers in the UK often choose to enjoy it with just a little water, but in Spain, they mix it with cola. In Japan Scotch is enjoyed with lots of water and ice, and in China with cold green tea.
More Scotch is sold in one month in France than Cognac in a year.

Belgium would love to have such a tourist attraction as the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival attracting 500,000 visitors and adding £261m to Scotland’s economy, never mind the beauty of wild Scotland or golf tourism.

Ireland would kill to have Scotland’s online gaming industry which has grown over 600 percent – GTA the world’s best-selling game is made in Scotland and industry experts claim the gaming sector could grow to be worth more to Scottish economy than oil ever was.

Sweden would like to match Scotland educationally, Scotland according to the ONS states Scots are the most educated in Europe, we have 45% who have experienced university degrees and further education, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland all fight for 2nd place with 40%

Not forgetting we have 16% of world acclaimed Universities and they’re Free

Finland must be massively envious that Scotland possesses 25 percent of the EU’s entire tidal and wave energy potential, a source of energy that doesn’t pollute and won’t run out.

Scotland is rich in resources like Whisky, Renewables, Tourism, Financial Services, Food and Drink, Fishing, IT. Farming, Manufacturing, Creative Industries, Construction, Global Transport, Engineering, Medical Research, Oil and Gas.

Scotland represents just 8.3% of the UK population. Remember that number 8.3%
We have the following share of UK resources –
32% Land area
61% Sea area
90% Surface freshwater
65% North Sea natural gas production
96.5% North Sea crude oil production
47% Open cast coal production
81% Coal reserves at sites not yet in production
62% Timber production (green tonnes)
46% Total forest area (hectares)
92% Hydroelectric production
40% Wind, wave, solar production
60% Fish Landings (total by Scottish vessels)
55% Fish Landings (total from Scottish waters)
30% Beef herd (breeding stock)
20% Sheep herd (breeding flock)
9% Dairy herd
10% Pig herd
15% Cereal holdings (hectares)
20% potato holdings (hectares)
All with 8.3% of the population!

We also have a…
17 billion pound construction industry
13 billion food and drink industry
10 billion business services industry
9.3 billion chemical services industry
A 9.3 billion tourism industry
7 billion financial services industry
5 billion aero service industry
4.5 billion pound whisky exports industry
3.1 billion pound life sciences industry
Scotland still has 350 million pounds worth of textile exports
Gold– one working mine in production last month. Second mine or gold field, found by Aberdeen University, This field has been extended to 200 square miles in Aberdeenshire

There are very few countries in the WORLD that rival Scotland’s resources per head and in such rich diversity. We absolutely, unequivocally can be an extremely successful independent country.”  

 

and breathe………   🙂

 

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It’s all about the GERS

but nothing whatsoever to do with a Glasgow football team.

GERS   (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) bothers me as I’m not sure I’ve yet found an authoritive analysis of what they actually tell us about the state of the Scotland’s economy.  (A thought just occurs, is there an equivalent GERE for England’s economy?  That would make an interesting set of comparisons if such figures exist)

Anyway, this post is about GERS and it’s likely to leave you as confused as I am……..  Comments welcomed!!

So to GERS.  GERS is compiled by statisticians and economists in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician takes responsibility for this publication. But, and it’s a might big but,  the key word here is “compiled”.  The source or raw data is supplied to The Scottish Government by  departments of the UK Government.  Such departments being HMRC, ONS and others.

So there’s a first reason why independence supporting people might be suspicious of the GERS accuracy.

Here’s something else interesting from the Scottish Government website
“Historical estimates of Scotland’s public sector finances consistent with GERS published in March 2015 are not available.  This is because detailed UK revenue and expenditure on an ESA10 basis have not been produced by the ONS.  Previous versions of historical estimates are available for user reference below.  Caution should be used when drawing conclusions from these estimates.”

So is this another reason for questioning the reality of the GERS figures?

A common cry on social media is “What about the Whisky Taxes?”  Well sorry to break what might be bad news to some, but the tax on whisky is consumption based.  That is, you and I pay it when we buy the stuff.  Sure the whisky industry is an exporter from Scotland, but the value of that would only show up in Scotland’s balance of payments figures.  Currently they make a much needed contribution to the UK balance of payments figures.  Oh, and most of the whisky is owned by multinationals, eg Diageo.   They could do clever accounting tricks if they desired to.

Below, is a table taken directly from the Scottish Government website.   I’m not looking at any of the individual lines or entries. I’m more interested in the  number of times the word “estimates” shows up.   Is this yet another reason to be cautious before accepting the GERS figures as gospel truth?

Q: What is the GERS estimate of Scottish revenue for HMRC tax categories?

A: The table below provides the GERS revenue estimates for the years 2009-10 to 2013-14, under the categories used by HMRC.  A description of how the HMRC categories match the GERS categories is provided if they are different.

There are a number of differences between the GERS and HMRC estimates, including:

  • HMRC receipts are on a cash basis; GERS receipts are on an accruals basis;
  • HMRC includes estimates for Customs Duties.  These are collected by HMRC on behalf of the EU.  They are not included in GERS revenue estimates.
  • HMRC estimate Scotland’s geographical share of offshore corporation tax and petroleum revenue tax (PRT) separately.  The GERS figures are based on Scotland’s share of total North Sea revenue, with this single estimate share applied to both offshore corporation tax and PRT.  The individual GERS estimates of corporation tax and PRT are therefore less meaningful.

GERS revenues by HMRC category (£m)

2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
2014-15
Notes on presentation on GERS
Total HMRC receipts excluding customs duties (Geographic)
41,638
44,995
41,584
42,061
41,689
Total HMRC receipts excluding customs duties (Population)
35,638
37,254
37,387
38,911
40,323
Income Tax
11,012
11,127
11,022
11,277
11,735
Capital Gains Tax
201
277
321
240
293
NICs
7,968
8,270
8,501
8,730
8,969
VAT
7,306
8,215
8,456
9,141
9,512
Net VAT receipts only, part of VAT
Corporation Tax (Onshore)
2,598
2,424
2,551
2,566
2,920
Corporation Tax (Offshore – Geographic)
5,524
7,031
3,377
2,681
1,489
Part of North Sea revenue (geographical share)
Corporation Tax (Offshore – Population)
575
739
366
295
172
Part of North Sea revenue (population share)
Bank Levy
0
120
110
180
221
Part of other taxes, royalties, and adjustments
Bank payroll tax
124
0
0
0
0
Part of other taxes on income and wealth
Petroleum Revenue Tax (Geographic)
1,173
1,620
1,331
857
55
Part of North Sea revenue (geographical share)
Petroleum Revenue Tax (Population)
122
170
145
93
6
Part of North Sea revenue (population share)
Fuel duties
2,304
2,259
2,240
2,271
2,294
IHT
175
170
175
210
229
Shares
243
236
181
268
252
Part of stamp duties
Stamp Duty Land Tax
334
275
283
389
478
Part of stamp duties
Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings
0
0
0
4
5
Part of stamp duties
Tobacco duties
1,058
1,208
1,278
1,242
1,211
Spirits duties
341
369
369
373
373
Part of alcohol duties
Beer duties
281
255
226
222
224
Part of alcohol duties
Wines duties
267
314
322
350
346
Part of alcohol duties
Cider duties
24
30
28
26
19
Part of alcohol duties
Betting & Gaming
98
122
122
173
185
Air Passenger Duty
185
228
243
273
309
Insurance Premium Tax
174
204
202
211
206
Landfill Tax
129
131
139
150
147
Climate Change Levy
61
63
61
117
163
Aggregates Levy
55
48
43
43
54
Swiss Capital Tax
0
0
0
63
0
Part of other taxes on income and wealth
Misc
0
0
0
0
0
Customs Duties
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
Tax Credits Net Payments
2,211
2,238
2,219
2,160
2,096
Child Benefit Net Payments
924
930
921
862
863

What’s in the GERS

Allocations of ‘Scotland’s Share’ of UK wide expenditure.  Contentiousness starts here.  Who decides what is ‘Scotland’s Share’ and on what basis?   What’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’?  Ah, that’ll be the UK Government departments who provide the data to the Scottish Government.

What’s not in the GERS

As these are figures which reflect the existing status of Scotland within the UK, and continuing to be so, then they by definition cannot be foreasting or including anything an independent Scotland might do. GERS does not show anything like:

  •  an allocation to Scotland of VAT  arising from economic activity in Scotland
  • an allocation to Scotland of Corporation Tax from business’s headquarted in Scotland
  • Military expenditure, old-age pensions and benefits for a future iScotland (These are set by Westminster, with no input from the devolved administrations and a share of costs is allocated)
  • any accounting for anything which could reasonably be interetpreted as an asset

 

Summary

So, congratulations if you’ve made it this far.   We know that GERS are confusing statistical figures with perhaps limited accuracy built usp from a whole heap of assumptions. And yet the MainStream Media loves them and treats them as though they were carbonite solid  bey-your-grannies-house-on-them types of figures.

They are all we’ve got and if they’re showing something negative we need to work away at that. We also need to seriously hassle the Scottish Government to measure and produce better statistics.

Other people’s views on GERS

Wings Over Scotland  :  http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-limitations-of-gers/

John McLaren at Scottish Trends : http://scottishtrends.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Analysis-of-GERS-2016.pdf

Margaret Cuthbert : https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9162/margaret-cuthbert-what-gers-and-brexit-reports-tell-us-about-scotlands-economy

Democracy – or not.

I’ve written a little in a previous post about the electoral reforms being pushed through Parliament by the Tory Party.  (here)    Time to just update this with a few more thoughts on the actions of the Tory Party.

The plans, for what they are, are to reduce the number of constituencies to 600.  This is being done in the name of “improving democracy”.  But is it?

Since about 2010, David Cameron  (the worst Prime Minister in UK history) created more than 236 new Peers to sit in the House of Lords.   So, we have a Tory Party saying we need to reduce the number of MPs in the name of democracy, but we’ll stuff the House of Lords full of far more people than the number of MPs we’ll reduce.  Here’s an interesting, although 12 months old, article on this subject written by John Humpreys.

Is this democracy in action?  Or is it gerrymandering and corrupt practices?  It’s your call.

The Tory party won an absolute majority in the UK election in 2015 with 36.9% of the votes cast. So 64.1% of the UK voting public did not vote for them.  Well that’s the vagaries of the UK’s ‘First Past The Post’ voting system for you.  As the table below shows, FPTP really doesn’t do a very good job of representing  how the public voted.  The case in oint has to be the difference between the Tories and UKIP.  The Tories received 34,244 votes per seat and UKIP received 3,881,129 votes per seat!

electoral.JPG

So what would the UK parliament look like if the parties got the numer of seats pro-rata the number of votes which were given to them?

Number of Seats
Share of vote Proportionate Actual change
Tory 36.8% 239 331 -92
Labour 30.4% 198 232 -34
UKIP 12.6% 82 1 81
Lib Dem 7.9% 51 8 43
SNP 4.7% 31 56 -25
Green 3.8% 25 1 24
DUP 0.6% 4 8 -4
Plaid Cymru 0.6% 4 3 1
Sinn Feinn 0.6% 4 4 -0
Ulster Unionist 0.6% 4 2 2
SDLP 0.6% 4 3 1
Total non-Tory 406 318
Tory Majority -166 13

 

So, just how democratic is the UK?   Especially in the light of the change being proposed by the Tories?    And don’t forget the potential Election Fraud…….