Scotland’s budget deficit fact checked

Oh no you don’t! We’re not paying for that bloody thing!

Ludo Thierry:

The National joins the FoAI in debunking the britnat ‘..burying bad news by publishing the regular economic data bulletins’ guff. Link and snippets below: (carried in The National’s Factcheck series – these factcheck articles can be freely accessed – not behind any paywall – worth a look at the full (short) piece):


“Scotland’s national deficit is now 7.2% and rising” – LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, Twitter, February 2 2020


Scotland pays its way. The latest GDP accounts show Scotland is as rich per head as Japan or France. The Scottish economy grew faster than the UK in 2018, the last full year we have data for.

The latest GDP quarterly accounts did include significant data revisions. However, the overall result was that for 2018 – the latest full calendar year for which numbers are available – Scotland’s onshore GDP growth was 1.5%. The equivalent UK growth was smaller, at 1.3%.

The substance of the budget deficit debate lies in Scotland’s ability to fund a high level of public expenditure post-independence. The January GDP national accounts provide hard evidence in this regard. For 2018 – and after the ONS revisions – the annual value of Scotland’s GDP in current prices is £32,300 per person, or circa $42,313. That is only slightly below Japan ($44,227) or France ($45,775) and better than Spain ($40,139) or New Zealand ($40,135) – IMF data for 2018. Scotland is a rich industrial nation that can afford welfare services on a par with these other nations.


One thought on “Scotland’s budget deficit fact checked

  1. 1. Scotland doesn’t have a deficit. It is, in law, obliged to balance its books. That is why it always ends the financial year with a very small surplus which unionists then make a song and dance about because they allege that that money is being withheld from the public. Any deficit is that of the UK, not Scotland.
    2. It is normal and appropriate for countries to have a deficit. A country’s national deficit is equal to the surplus of private individuals and companies. If a country runs a national surplus that means that the private sector (you and me) go into debt. That is the inevitable result of all these years of tory austerity. See Professor Richard Murphy here for example. Other sensible economists to listen to are Professors Stephanie Kelton, Bill Keen and Bill Mitchell. There are others.
    3. Of course the money which is spent by government and which goes to creating the national (UK) deficit, may well be inappropriately spent on fantasy projects such as HS2, Hinkley nuclear power station, refurbishing the Houses of Parliament, refurbishing Buckingham Palace, Trident, etc. etc. So a country can run a deficit created by bad spending decisions. But that does not mean that a national deficit is a bad thing per se.

    Liked by 1 person

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