Scotland: Who did you say was the enemy, again?

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Vox Political is indebted to Facebook commenter Martin Ballinger, who draws attention to a short article from The Times:

“Downing Street risked Scottish anger last night by reassuring Tory MPs that
public funds given to Scotland would decrease over time.

“The three party leaders vowed to retain the Barnett formula as part of efforts
to persuade Scottish voters to remain in the Union. However, since last
week’s vote, Tory MPs have voiced anger at the funding model, which grants
£1,600 a head more in public money to Scotland than England.

“A source at No 10 said that Westminster would keep to its promise to retain
the formula, but added that it would reduce as Scotland gained more fiscal
powers.”

On the face of it, this may seem perfectly reasonable. More tax-raising powers for Scotland means less need for the rest of the UK to support it from general taxation – right?

But the Scottish population is just one-twelfth that of the whole UK, meaning the tax burden on Scottish people is likely to be much greater, just to receive the same services as before. Think about it – services for a smaller number of people always cost more than for a larger number; that’s why Labour created systems like the NHS to spread the cost of healthcare as thinly as possible.

It seems that, when the dust has settled, the Scottish people will find out that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting.

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6 thoughts on “Scotland: Who did you say was the enemy, again?

  1. Eijnar

    There are more poor people in total in England than Scotland,more people living in remote rural areas than in Scotland.So why should a Scottish millionaire be given an extra £1600 per year to pay for his council services than a poor person living in England? If YOU want to fund this then please use your own money but don’t force me to fund this patently unfair system.

    When you can provide some reason why a Scottish millionaire living in the middle of Edinburgh is entitled to £1600 per year extra in Rate Support Grant to fund his Council Services while a person living in a hostel for the homeless in Liverpool doesn’t then please let me know.And simply relying upon the the Barnett Formula is no longer a good enough answer as even Lord Barnett has said that his formula should be scrapped as the system is now so terribly unfair.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If you think Scotland should be taxed twice for the same thing, as David Cameron seems to want (he reckons he’ll be paying less to Scotland but hasn’t mentioned any consequential drop in Scottish income tax) then by all means support his plan.
      I can envisage good reasons for Scotland to get more per head, although I don’t have all the necessary facts and wouldn’t have the time to take them all in. You don’t have all those facts either, unless you have spent hours working your way through Treasury tax and spending calculations. Have you?
      I can tell you that, here in rural Wales, public services cost more. It’s a fact of life. Powys is the second most rural county in the UK and the most rural is in Scotland. Public services there will cost more again. That’s why the settlement is higher. It isn’t about being a millionaire – if that person pays his or her taxes, then they are entitled to exactly the same amount of public service as anyone else. That is how the system works in this country.
      Do you think any of the Scottish local authorities are making a profit on this?

      1. Joan Edington

        Well said Mike. At last, someone south of the border who actually realises what “extra tax-raising powers” means. The way it has been used to stir the Daily Mail readers into a frenzy has been by implying that these “extra” powers will somehow replace UK income tax by something better, rather than being a top-up we could choose to use if the population voted for such a tax to improve services. We will still be paying bog standard UK income tax which, as has been mentioned and ignored by the media ad nauseam throughout the campaigns, Scotland pay in more per capita than they get out of Westminster.

  2. Robert Miles Davies

    I’m afraid it just goes to show what Cameron will do…promise everything, get them off track and then quietly forget the ‘promissory notes’. He’s a good one for shoving in caveats at the last moment. Scotland will hold him to his promises…but he won’t do it without a fight. If you catch an eel…that’s just the easy part.

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