Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plans in tatters as ‘Scotland benefits from being in UK’

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Nicola Sturgeon’s Government spending went up by £15.1billion more than is received in revenues, official figures show. The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) statistics show the UK’s deficit is 2.5 percent, up from 1.9 percent the previous year. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has explained these statistics clearly show the huge benefit Scotland has from being part of the UK.

Speaking to ITV’s Representing Border, Mr Jack said: “These figures show very clearly the huge benefit Scotland has from being part of the UK.

“This year the deficit is up over £15billion that’s over £2billion last year.

“It gives Scotland a union dividend per man, woman and child of over £2,000 per person.”

The independently-produced figures show Scotland’s deficit rose from 7.4 percent the previous year.

Total public-sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland, including both UK and Scottish Government spending, rose by 3.1 percent to £81billion.

This is equivalent to £14,829 per person in Scotland, £1,633 per person greater than the UK average.

Commentary in the GERS report says the figures “incorporate the initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic” but notes the effects will be greater next year.

It comes as Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes received a vicious backlash online after she defended the First Minister’s plans for an independent Scotland.

SNP MSP Kate Forbes argued Scotland’s large deficit is not a reason for it not to become independent as she highlighted independent countries with huge deficits during the coronavirus pandemic.

But ITV presenter Peter MacMahon noted an independent Scotland would take a share of the UK’s deficit meaning the country would have a higher deficit than Britain.

Twitter users have hit out at the finance secretary for comparing Scotland’s deficit to other countries during a global pandemic.

Ms Forbe told the programme: “Across the world countries operate with deficits.

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“We have seen unprecedented borrowing from countries around the world. Small and large countries including the UK Government whose deficit is set to rise to £372billion this year.

“I don’t see any of those countries suddenly deciding that they no longer want to be independent.

“Those are powers that we could use to invest in the economy and to manage our public finances far more sustainably than they are currently managed under this arrangement.”

Mr MacMahon said: “If Scotland were independent it would take a share of that UK deficit and it would add to the deficit we know it has.

“The deficit of an independent Scotland would be even higher than a UK deficit. The difference between them and Scotland is they have the powers and levers to manage a deficit.

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