• Scotland’s public spending is over 50% GDP, five percent higher than the UK average.
• According to Scottish government data, average spending per head was £12,250 in 2012/2013, compared with £11,000 per head in the UK as a whole. This equates to £1,250 a head more than the UK, or £2,800 per household. An independent Scotland, dependent on declining oilfields and volatile income from it, wouldn’t be able to maintain this. Either spending would have to be cut or taxes would have to rise, or both.
• n 2013, total spending in Scotland was just over £65billion. Almost two-thirds of that spending went to just three departments – health, education and social protection, all which are rapidly becoming more costly.
• As part of the UK, Scotland has been able to increase spending relatively unhindered, in stark contrast to the public spending trends in many similar-sized independent European nations, like Ireland, Iceland, Portugal and Spain, where public spending has been sharply cut, leading to very well-publicised public unrest.
• In 2012/2013, Scotland raised £48billion in taxes, including £550million as its per-capita share of oil revenues, and spent £65billion, running a fiscal deficit of £17billion, or £3,250 for every man, woman, and child – equal to £7,000 per household.
• Even if Scotland had a geographic share of oil revenues, the deficit would have still been £12billion, or £2,300 per person, or £5,000 per household.
• Scotland’s per-capita deficit is one of the worst in Europe and is simply not sustainable.
For more in-depth analysis, please click here for the full-version of the white paper, Much cost, little benefit