Our ‘notional’ deficit has been welcomed gleefully by those prominent ‘Scots’ who’d rather see their own country done down than break free. It is of course notional in two senses. First, it’s based on estimates and second we can’t actually have a deficit as we’re not independent and responsible for it. It’s the UK deficit and as you know that derives from the UK’s massive trade deficit and consequent loan payments not to mention it’s imperialist foreign policy costs which we wouldn’t have either or the fact that Westminster failed to collect tax revenue on North Sea oil for several years before and since the Referendum. Wonder why? You’ll also remember Scotland doesn’t have a trade deficit [see link below] and so doesn’t deserve to have a share of the debt repayments added to its figures.
However, even if we accepted the GERS figures the Unionist media headlines could have been more positive. See this headline from the Scottish Business News Network.
‘The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures show Scotland’s fiscal position improved in 2016-17.’
Here is an extract from the report:
‘Overall, the notional deficit fell by £1.3 billion in 2016-17 to stand at 8.3% of GDP. Onshore revenues increased by £3.3 billion (6.1%) between 2015-16 and 2016-17 – the fastest increase since current records began in 1998-99 – while North Sea revenue also grew.’
FM Sturgeon was also quoted in the article:
‘Scotland’s economy remains strong. In the last quarter, our economy grew nearly four times faster than the UK and the number of people in employment is at a record high. These figures reflect Scotland’s finances under current constitutional arrangements. However, they show that our investment in key industries – such as the life-science sector – is providing a real boost to our onshore economy. By continuing to invest in key sectors, we will ensure Scotland remains a productive and competitive country.’
She’s too polite [not combative enough?] to mention the ‘defence’ costs or the oil revenue fiasco and she’s a bit obscure on the issue of whose fault the deficit might be for my taste but then one of my readers has just labelled me a ‘brutal realist.’ I am certainly the second part.
England ran a massive trade deficit in 2014 and 2015 too. Scotland had an even greater surplus in those years. Who knows how much we’ve been subsidising the UK balance of payments and reducing debt over the years?