The case for Scottish independence was strengthened today after new figures released showed that Scotland was in fiscal surplus for the fourth consecutive year.  This was compared to a UK-wide deficit over the same period.

The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report for 2008-09 includes a share of the UK Government's Financial Sector Interventions to support the banking sector.

The figures show that Scotland generated £1.3 billion more last year than was spent; in contrast, the UK ran a budget deficit of £48.9 billion.  Even when long term capital and infrastructure investments were factored in Scotland was still showing a far superior performance than the UK showing a 2.6% deficit against the UK’s 6.7%.

GERS also shows Scotland in a stronger fiscal position than the average of the major developed economies.

The cumulative value of Scotland's current budget surplus over the four year period now stands at some £3.5 billion. Over this same period, the UK built up a deficit of £72.3 billion.

Welcoming the report, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
"This is an extremely positive report - demonstrating beyond any doubt that Scotland is in a far stronger financial position than the UK as a whole, as well as the OECD average.

"In 2008-09, Scotland generated a current budget surplus of £1.3 billion, or 0.9 per cent of GDP, compared to a deficit for the UK of £48.9 billion, or 3.4 per cent of GDP.

"This is the fourth year in a row to record a Scottish current budget surplus - even as the UK moved into recession - and the cumulative value of Scotland's surplus since 2005-06 now stands at some £3.5 billion, compared to a UK deficit over the same period of £72.3 billion.

"These figures reinforce the case for Scotland determining its own tax and spending decisions, and managing other key economic levers, with the powers of financial responsibility and independence. That will enable us to take the decisions in Scotland needed to grow the economy, because growth is the key to moving out of the financial difficulties we face.

"As we saw in yesterday's Budget, we are left picking up the pieces of the financial mismanagement of the last Westminster Government, and the risk to recovery posed by the new UK administration.

"Yet in 2008-09, even taking into account a share of the UK's bank bail out, Scotland's own current budget balance was very substantially in credit, while the UK as a whole was in substantial deficit.

"Financial responsibility and independence provide the platform to build long-term economic prosperity and social justice in Scotland."

The figures will be welcome news to advocates of Scottish independence and those organisations who are calling for full fiscal autonomy.

The fact that Scotland is now regularly generating more money for the UK exchequer than we receive back in the form of a grant will be a blow for the Labour party in Scotland who have consistently argued that Scotland could not survive without Westminster ‘subsidies’.

Labour finance spokesman Andy Kerr said: "These figures show that a separate (sic) Scotland would be dangerously dependent on volatile oil prices.”

Mr Kerr also commented on the Scottish deficit of 2.6% when capital projects were factored in but failed to comment on the UK deficit of 6.7% when factoring in the same projects.

In a bizarre editorial decision, the BBC Scotland online news editor has decided that the top political story is one based around criticism of a loan to the company involved in the Homecoming Clan Gathering.

The online item contains the following potentially misleading sentences:
"The Gathering event was the showpiece of the Scottish Year of Homecoming.
It is thought to have boosted the economy by £10m but it lost more than £500,000."

The Gathering did indeed generate £10 million for the local economy.  The company behind the event made a loss.

Homecoming clarification:

  • £53.7 million of additional tourism revenue was generated for Scotland, representing a return on investment of nearly 1:10 and 22% above the target set for the year.
  • 95,000 visitors to Scotland were influenced to travel to Scotland as a result of Homecoming.  72,000 were exclusively drawn by the celebrations, with a further 23,000 citing the year as a factor in making their decision to visit in 2009.
  • £154 million of positive global media coverage for Homecoming and Scotland was generated by the multi-award winning PR campaign

Once again BBC Scotland have carefully manipulated a story and placed it in a position of undeserving prominence.  Attacks on The Homecoming have been relentless since the SNP came to office in 2007.  Is criticism of £670,500 in public grants and loans really more important than the news that Scotland is in fiscal surplus to the tune of £ billions?

We at Newsnet Scotland think not.  Time will tell if the item is given the same prominence on the BBC’s main news ‘Reporting Scotland’.


# m4rkyboy 2010-06-23 17:17

The Daily Record are reporting this differently as are the BBC

This is a joke.How about the truth?
# springy 2010-06-23 18:02
Mhairi Stuart was at it as well on Radio Scotland. At abour 6 o'clock there was a snippet (it was tiny) on the Scottish surplus that contained a lie from Labour that the figures did not include the bank bailout.
The bank bailout was included, it's even in Newsnets article "includes a share of the UK Government's Financial Sector Interventions to support the banking sector.".
We need to complain to the BBC about this en masse. They aren't just broadcasting propaganda but are broadcasting what they know to be lies.
I didn't see Reporting Scotland so don't know how it was presented.
# Old Smokey 2010-06-23 17:27
Unbeleivable slant by the very bias BBC! The BBC have become the broadcast version of the Daily Record. Both are a complete joke. They just cant seem to be able to tell the truth.
What is especially disapointing about the BBC, is we all pay for it!
The BBC is held up around the world as an unbias news provider. This is evidently far from the truth.
# Jonny van de 2010-06-24 08:25
"The BBC is held up around the world as an unbias news provider. This is evidently far from the truth"

As a Scott who has emigrated to the Netherlands I am constantly surprised by the BBC slant on british news compared to the Dutch and German channels. I would have never said it before I moved here but we more manipulated in the UK :-(

As this is a sort of financial thread also I have to say I am happy to see that Scotland is doing not so bad. But taxes are crazy in the UK i'm 25% better off here for the same salary. Where is all the cash going??????
# mato21 2010-06-23 17:44
My reply to the Affair By McGillicuddy
It's over three hundred years,
Since we both said I do,
Where the times went to,
I haven't a clue,
I look back and wonder,
Did I do right,
And what would I change,
If I'd had second sight.
Well there's much that I'd change,
But that time has past,
So I'll just start again,
Now you are aghast
For our affair is now over,
And you know it's true,
Though you still smile on me,
You just make me grue,
You plundered and raped
This land of my birth,
As I have got leaner,
You've increased your girth
You've stole for yourself,
My riches my oil,
Spilled the blood of my youth,
On far distant soil.
I'm a nation you see
And I'm claiming my land
So I've decided it's time,
To draw a line in the sand.
I may miss you a little,
You may miss me a lot,
When you look over the border,
And see what I've got,
A people that's free,
No shackles or chains,
Taking care of our old,
Our sick and our weans
So fare thee weel now,
I no longer care,
For this is the end,
# Ron Wilson 2010-06-23 17:51
An outrage, but no surprise.

I've fired off an official complaint & would urge others to do likewise - it might not make much of a difference, but at least it's logged and are aware that some people do give a damn!
# enneffess 2010-06-23 22:16
The best way is to raise a PQ. That will require the BBC to provide an answer extremely quickly, believe me.

Make sure it is raised by an non-Labour MP/MSP!!
# enneffess 2010-06-23 18:39
I'd argue that since there are different stories (outwith BBC and DR) it is an argument for full fiscal control, rather than independence.
My reasoning is that full fiscal control will finally provide the true figures, from which the public can make their mind up whether they wish to take the next step to independence.

On the loan issue, it is the Audit Office who compiled the report, and they come under the responsibility of the Finance Secretary. I'd say their report was fair in the circumstances.
# Vakov2000 2010-06-23 20:02
Apologies for this comment being off topic I just had a comment censored on the BBC BWB blog and I am going to attempt to make the comment and see if a hyperlink to the same comment on this page will slip past the Labour/unionist censors. I meerly asked what type of people are we dealing what motivates a person who trains to become a journalist. Then uses their training to betray their country. To get off on lying and manilpulating the public and undermining democracy while betraying their country and happily make a career of it? I was of course refering to the "scottish" media. As a result my comments were not "allowed" to appear.
# enneffess 2010-06-23 20:41
Your comment could be potentially libellous (or whatever the correct legal term is). You could be seen as making unfounded allegations against an individual whilst implying it is a certain individual.
Don't get me wrong, I agree with the principle of what you are saying about some journalists. But to look at it from a neutral point of view you would need to back up your claims with solid evidence.
Remember that the BBC is extremly twitchy these days with regards to allegations, never mind the political bias inbuilt into the organisation.
# mato21 2010-06-23 20:06
Legal debate review has been dropped on BBC web page
# m4rkyboy 2010-06-23 21:28
It appears the daily record have deleted all comments on their version of the story.Maybe the cries of foul play prompted this?who knows?maybe it is wholly innocent and just a technical blunder?doubt it.
# jasp303 2010-06-24 13:51
Daily Record regularly deleted comments even if they are not offensive. They don't need to leave a delete marker. Labour love ones usually appear at the top, made by the same one person.
# m4rkyboy 2010-06-24 16:47
i have had 4 deleted now and another dude,kelpie3,has had 6 deleted!.unbelievable-i thought we lived in a country with free speech.The Daily Record apparatchiks are applying censorship to anything that doesn't match their agenda-these guys make Pravda look unbiased.
# m4rkyboy 2010-06-24 16:49
lmao!Make that 6 for me and 8 for Kelpie.unreal
# snowthistle 2010-06-24 17:59
Hi m4rkyboy,
Kelpie is my alter ego, since there came a point where nothing Snowthistle wrote got past the DR filter. Soosider seems to disappear fairly often as well. I can't make my mind up whether to stop posting and just leave them to it or whether we should keep fighting.
# snowthistle 2010-06-25 09:17
Now they have removed all of the posts except one of mine which makes me wonder what I've done wrong with that one????
# Clare 2010-06-23 21:35
Reporting Scotland have just covered the loan mentioning a figure of £180,000? The company running the Gathering went bust with all sorts of debts and many companies weren't paid.
# robbie 2010-06-24 09:58
Who in their right mind would beleive a word Andy(clueless)K err utters, the man is a london labour poodle,he does and says as he is told by his masters just like all slab dunderheids he can only follow orders and put Scotland down.
The man is an embarassment to Scotland.
# Embradon 2010-06-24 10:42
Who would believe him? You mean apart from the BBC, STV, Scotsman, Herald, Record.....
# ahumscottish2 2010-06-24 11:01
Hi all another good piece of journalism with a fair and balanced prospective being put across by the contributors. Is there anyway this can be shown without the slant of pro unionists dissing it. Off to listen FM questions
# mato21 2010-06-24 11:05
A wee simple counting lesson for A.Kerr who stated there have only been 10years out of the last 28years when there was a surplus and none since 1988
Figures released for year----2008/09
Take away 28years------------=1980/81
No surplus since--------------1988
We now deduct-----------------1980/1981
Where is the 10years?Maybe he should get his brain into gear before he opens his mouth but I suppose you cannot have everything
# brusque 2010-06-24 13:43
Quoting mato21:
Where is the 10years?Maybe he should get his brain into gear before he opens his mouth but I suppose you cannot have everything

Unfortunately with Kerr you can't have anything. Iain Gray has no bigger tool at his disposal, unless you count Jackie Baillie:-)
# jasp303 2010-06-24 13:56
Perhaps Newsnet could create a follow-up on how this story is being reported in the media, or if they even mentioned it at all.

Independent Scotland '£4 billion in the red'
# robbie 2010-06-24 16:12
Quoting Embradon:
Who would believe him? You mean apart from the BBC, STV, Scotsman, Herald, Record.....

The question was .

# Vakov2000 2010-06-24 16:57
Unbelievable getting emails from BBC BWB telling me they're removing my postings even although they originally passed the moderator and have been up for a day or two! They were just general posts nothing too radical in them. They're loosing the plot methinks!
# m4rkyboy 2010-06-24 17:05
This stinks to high heaven.How can we have a debate when free comment isn't allowed?This is wrong.The opposing team are allowed to move the goalposts when it suits them.
# Vakov2000 2010-06-24 17:57
The BBC isn't interested in free speech and will go out of their way to block it unless it's something they agree with it would appear.
# snowthistle 2010-06-25 09:43
I've sent an email to the web editor at the DR asking if I could have some feedback as to where I have broken the rules regarding comments, so that I don't do it again.
Will let you know if I get a reply.
# Clare 2010-06-24 23:03
Good God Vakov, they must have an alarm set for you! : )
# Vakov2000 2010-06-25 13:29

I think you could be right! lol :)

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