Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Scotland is the Most Affluent Country in Britain

According to this week's Sunday Times Scotland is the most affluent country in Britain.

A study reveals that a decade of devolution has produced higher wages and less poverty and unemployment than in England.

The changes have prompted renewed calls for an end to the funding policy which gives Scots 20% higher public spending than those south of the border. (I've put the map of Scotland on the right hand side just to show the land mass which the money covers because I think so many MPs think Scotland is just an irritating small blot on the UK map.)

In the last 10 years child poverty in Scotland fell from 28.2% to 19.6%, while in England it fell from 25.2% in 1999 to 22.1% in 2008.

Peter Bone, the tory MP for Wellingborough, speaking through clenched teeth I presume, said "Scotland has done very well, so it should not be subsidised. There is a danger to the union if extremists in England start saying, why is Scotland getting all this money? The Barnett formula needs to be looked at again." Scotland subsidised? Even I don't accept that. Mr Bone supports the cheap electricity England receives from Scotland while Scots have to pay higher prices and he also enjoys a trip round the M25 when it's quiet and the odd weekend in Paris using Eurostar so I'm told. All built by Scotland's oil.

The Sunday Times reports in another article that a Birmingham electrician has earned £124,000 in a year, 58 other workers including binmen, gardeners and gravediggers were paid bonuses of up to £20,000 each. A dustcart driver was paid £50,917 and binmen were paid up to £46,000. A traffic lights repairman was paid £81,940 and a road painter £57,591.

On these figures is it any wonder Scotland's wealth is rising? I've yet to hear of a Scottish council which has paid an electrician £124,000. If you know of one I'm sure you'll let me know.


Anonymous said...

It would be a very brave Labour government that would fiddle much with this formula.

The Tories have little to lose and much to gain. The only risk is that they lose Scotland altogether.

I wonder if they will risk that?

subrosa said...

I don't think they'd be brave enough to try Tris. They've too much to lose financially with the oil money and cheap electricity.

Gedguy said...

The first thing I thought of when I heard about this article was a sustained attack on Scotland's meagre offering from the Barnett formula. I suspect this is the opening shots of the UK government getting ready with its excuses to cut Scotland's money, again. It's a bit like when we are about to declare war; we demonize the opposition in every way possible to encourage a feeling of right over wrong. In this financial mess that the UK government are in (caused by Labour, again) there will have to be cutbacks and if the UK government (of whichever hue)can convince the majority of voters (English constituencies) that the winging Scots are receiving too much money, then they will be halfway there to cutting our money.
As to the other Times article, I read that and wondered why that electrician was receiving so much money until I read a little further on when they mentioned back pay, etc. Strange how it is totally unacceptable for an electrician to receive the monies that he was entitled to but it is perfectly acceptable for the bankers to receive bonuses of billions of pounds for ruining our economy. Sure, the press is lamblasting the bankers but we all know that the bonuses will be paid.

subrosa said...

Morning Ged. You've a couple of good points there. Of course defamation of this country isn't new, labour have been doing it for the past few years with some success. Quite a few English people think the Scots are subsidised by them these days. Quite incorrect of course.

I understand where you're coming from about the electrician's salary but two wrongs don't make a right.

The bankers situation angers me. Our money keeps their businesses afloat and yet, the government is stubbornly refusing to take any action against the misuse of our money.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Rosa - the banking and political situations with their deficits of financial probity, social morality and democratic accountability sicken just about every thinking person in the country.

Which beggars the question of why they can, with arrogant cockyness be so sure they'll not only get off with it, but profit in the process.

Is it apathy or stupidity on the part of the common herd that allows such arrogance to pollute the corridors of governance? Because from the little I see and hear it can't in any way be laid at the door of contentment.

It would seem from the result of the Dutch inquiry into Iraq, that their democratic process doesn't suffer from the same degree of democratic deficit as ours?

subrosa said...

I think it's apathy overall Crinkly. The "I'm all right Jack" seems to fit the bill.

Until people's standards of living fall and they suddenly realise how much of their freedom has been removed, then nothing will happen.

One positive action I've noticed in recent weeks is the growing of the English Parliament blogs. That can only be a healthy move and good for Scotland.

Terry Heath said...

If Scotland is part of the UK, it is UK oil. If Scotland wants independence, then that’s a different matter but until then, they should be treated as just a part of the UK. The City of London doesn’t get more spent on it because it generates more cash than anywhere else and the same rules should be applied to Scotland.

An indisputable fact however is Scotland gets 25% more public money than England. If taxation remains the same, then welfare provisions in more deserving areas of England and Wales have to be reigned back in order to pay for the higher spending in Scotland. This means these areas are subsidising the higher spending in Scotland by way of reduced services.

Why? Because no party dares correct it. It would be political suicide. The Tories have been wiped out already and Labour are on the ropes after the SNP’s successes… so this unfair level of spending is set to continue.

I'd like to see Scottish independence as much as the next (English)man, but until that happens, those who object to this unfair system are neither "extreme" nor anti-Scottish.

Gedguy said...

Terry Heath, you are correct about the city of London, but not about London. The 'square mile' does produce a huge amount of money for the Treasury, but, as I am sure that you are aware of, that does not equate to the rest of London. There are huge areas in London that are just as poor, if not poorer, than many of the poorest areas in the rest of the country.
I'd be interested to learn where you managed to get this figure of 25%.

subrosa said...

Terry, I was getting on fine until you mention London (or the City of London). It's a well known fact London itself has the highest public investment.

Indisputable fact? 25%? Dearie me, you have been reading inaccurate sites. I'd be pleased to know where that figure came from.

There's a map I've put in the sidebar which shows why Scotland receives more than England. Perhaps I should have put a UK map up and the difference would have been far more visible.

I can't remember using the word 'extreme' or 'anti-Scottish' in my post or other comments Terry. It takes quite a bit for me to call anyone anti-Scottish because I've lived all over the UK.

Terry Heath said...

Hands up, I may have taken the 25% figure from higher spending on the Scottish NHS* I tried to check my figures with PESA**, but the link is broken. This link also shows that Scotland received more money than every single English region, including London (I was talking about the City though), but I can’t prove that until they fix the link.

In the meantime, I’ll happily accept that spending is 20% higher via Barnett because the principle still stands.

It may be that Scotland should have higher per capita spending because of its landmass/population ratio, but that is not the reason for Barnett. Higher spending is purely based upon political expediency. It started with Goschen and follows the (failed) principle of “killing home rule by kindness” when the then Government feared calls for Irish independence could spread to Scotland. This is what Joel Barnett himself has to say on his formula...

"All I did was put together, almost on the back of an envelope, a mechanism... There was nothing scientific about this …The current Prime Minister has frequently said in recent years that the formula is based on need but it isn't. It is …a very simple system, very simple but very wrong."***

You haven’t called anyone extremist, but Peter Bone did in the article and others elsewhere have accused me of being anti-Scottish when I argue this point.

Having said all that, I think this is good for those of us fighting for an English Parliament and, as you say, “That can only be a healthy move and good for Scotland”

*** http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/1584283/Lord-Barnett-admits-scheme-is-not-formula.html

subrosa said...

I don't think you'll get many who support independence calling you anti-Scottish Terry, at least I hope not.

Aye we all know what Barnett said, it's played over and over on TV and the press, just to let us know that the unionists are a kind bunch.

It really pleases me that the English have woken up to the prospect of their own parliament. Mind you it's taken them a while to realise that Europe has taken everything over and soon all we'll have is our own national identities.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I think Terry's marching in the right direction but beating the wrong tune on the drum.

As a Scot and a nationalist, living in England I feel it's only fair to vote for English Democrats. The argument Terry, is not with England or the English per se, but with Westminster and the deficient and obfuscate democracy it practices.

I believe Scotland gaining its independence could be the catalyst that improves the democratic process for all of this dysfunctional unions citizens.

As to your comment re the Barnett formula. Yes it's flawed but it was designed to be flawed and to suit a particular purpose - namely to subvert the push for independence and to maintain the subservience and subsidiarity of Scotland. The fact is Scotland puts more into the Treasury than it gets back in pocket money to meet devolved matters. The residual amount is spent to satisfy Westminster priorities and values. This is not acceptable to a free Nation.

As to the London equation this is a completely distorted valuation. Most of the wealth accrued to London is because of the fashion to locate HQ's there. The wealth is made throughout the country then syphoned off to the London counting houses. The one exception to that is the City, and who the hell would want to base their future on that House of Cards? Apart from stupid politicians, that is.

subrosa said...

If I lived in England I too would vote English Democrat Crinkly and I agree with you about Terry's position.

As the comment was more or less addressed to him I'll leave him to respond.

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