THE new Governor General Alister Jack, and other politicians who think GERS shows that we are subsidy junkies, are financially illiterate and haven’t studied the GERS figures in detail.

At £62.7 billion, Scotland’s income is enough to cover all devolved spending, including all pensions and social services. The £12.6bn “deficit” includes: £3.3bn removed from Scotland’s accounts for UK military, £3.16bn to service Westminster’s massive national debt, £1.71bn for UK “service costs”, £989m for “international services” plus £303m for “EU transactions”. Of this £11.4bn almost £10bn is spent by Westminster outside Scotland.

The deficit could be halved in an independent Scotland if oil and gas companies were taxed at Norwegian levels. Last year Scotland’s production was 90% of the Norwegian level yet GERS only managed to show just over £1bn of tax receipts, while Norway raised £11bn in 2018.

Excluding London and the south-east, the rest of England has more than twice Scotland’s deficit while Wales and Northern Ireland are even worse, which just shows how much the City of London financial sector siphons off the profits generated in the rest of the UK.

Fraser Grant