THE eleventh question from the Carluke and Lanark Gazette’s Independence Debate, answered by Robin McAlpine and Professor Adam Tomkins, concerns Scotland’s finances.
Robin and Adam kindly agreed to debate the case for Yes and No at the Gazette’s Independence Debate in Lanark Memorial Hall on May 26.
They were only too happy to answer questions posed by our readers that we couldn’t quite get through on the night, thanks to a heated meeting which 420 people attended!
So, just a matter of hours before Carluke and Lanark Gazette readers go to the polls to decide on independence, we’re bringing you their responses.
Each hour on the hour, between 8am and 10pm today, we’ll post one of the answers to a question posed by a Gazette reader.
For each question posed, we will give one opinion from the Yes camp and one from the No camp.
Question: Scotland only has five million people with a land area more than half England’s which has a population of 55 million. Wealth can these days be fairly well equated with energy from renewable sources and this correlates fairly well with land area with, in the case of Scotland, extra elements of more energetic wave, wind and sea power. Then of course there is the oil. Can anyone considering these simple facts fail to accept that Scotland could well look after itself and would have no difficulty remaining in the EU if we wanted to?
Robin McAlpine, Yes campaign: Every year for more than three decades Scotland has contributed more in tax to the rest of the UK than the UK gives back in all public investment and public expenditure combined. Scotland subsidises the UK not because we have a really healthy economy but because of our incredible natural resources. At the moment those resources make traders in the City of London rich. We need the power to ensure that they instead make the people of Scotland prosperous. Everything Scotland needs to be a successful country is in our own hands – except the powers we need.
Professor Adam Tomkins, No campaign: Scottish onshore tax revenues are lower than the UK average yet, at the same time, public spending per person in Scotland is around 10 per cent higher than the UK average. At the same time, oil and gas revenues are declining and, moreover, are doing so more quickly than the Scottish Government forecast in its independence White Paper. Were Scotland to become independent this “fiscal deficit” would have to be managed wholly within Scotland: by cutting £2.5 billion of public spending, by raising taxes by the same amount, or by borrowing. These are the economic realities that an independent Scotland would face.