GERS Figures are a crushing blow for the SNP's economic credibility


The latest annual figures setting out the income and expenditure for Scotland have just been published.

The top line from the latest figures showed that had we voted for independence, Scots would have faced leaving the UK with a gap between revenue and expenditure of £13.7bn.

This is more than we currently spend on NHS services every year.

This is incredibly serious.

The root cause of this decline is not difficult to find. The fall in the price of oil has caused huge difficulties, with thousands of jobs in the North East and elsewhere under threat.

The deficit is currently more than we spend on the NHS every year.

During the independence referendum, the SNP promised a second oil boom and we were told to expect an oil price of $113 a barrel and revenues of £7.9bn by 2016/17.

Today, North Sea oil pumps in at $40 per unit and 2014/15 generated North Sea tax receipts totalling £2.3bn. The figures next year are likely to be worse, because the price of oil has fallen again in recent months.

These figures are bad news for Scotland, and the North East in particular.

But they are a crushing blow to any claims of economic credibility on the part of the First Minister. Increasingly, the economic case for leaving the UK seems to have been built on sand.

The economic case for leaving the UK seems to have been built on sand.

Promises were made by the SNP about the windfall that only independence would bring. The reality is that we would have been facing austerity beyond our imagination.

It has always been difficult to predict oil revenues which is why the SNP were foolish to predict a second oil boom.

But the SNP’s fatal error of judgement was recommending that Scotland should be independent even though its finances would be based on such a volatile and unpredictable source of income.

Thank goodness Scottish people had the great sense to reject their dubious claims. It means we can now focus on making Scotland the best again on education, environment, health and civil liberties.


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