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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Pensions & Welfare More Affordable In Independent Scotland

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Figures from GERS (Government Expenditure & Revenue in Scotland) show how an independent Scotland is better placed to fund pensions and welfare compared to the UK.

The analysis of the figures from GERS show that the size of Scotland’s social/welfare protection expenditure and state pension bill as a share of government revenue (with revenue being the money Scotland raises in tax for the very purpose of paying for public services) shows that in Scotland between 2005 and 2010 Scotland’s pension expenditure was 15.1% of Scottish revenues, less than the 15.7% for the UK.

And in terms of social/welfare protection expenditure it was 41.9% of Scottish revenues, less than the 43.2% for the UK.

These figures contrast with attempts by Michael Moore this week to compare Scottish welfare and pension spending solely with oil revenues – an exercise that if it applied to the UK as whole would result in a trillion pound deficit for the Whitehall Treasury.

Commenting SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“This week’s trillion pound blunder by Michael Moore to try and scaremonger pensioners only looks all the more ridiculous when compared to the whole picture.

“On the basis of taxes raised in Scotland, and once our welfare protection expenditure and state pensions are paid, Scotland actually has a relative surplus compared to the UK.

“In short Scotland is more able to afford our pension and welfare bill than the UK.

“Taking all spending in Scotland into account and all of our revenues, Scotland has run a current budget surplus in four of the five years to 2009/10 – while the UK was in current budget deficit in each of these years, and hasn’t run a current budget surplus since 2001/02.

“Michael Moore’s parroting of Tory arguments to talk Scotland down and use spurious comparisons to scaremonger pensioners shows how little confidence they have in their case.”


Calculation:

SOCIAL/WELFARE PROTECTION
UK social/welfare protection expenditure as % of total UK government revenues
Scottish social/welfare protection expenditure as % of total Scottish revenues
2005-10

2005-10
Social Spend £961,195
Social Spend £88,124
UK Govt. Revenue £2,601,007
Scottish Revenue £252,781
Social Spend as Revenue % 36.95%
Social Spend as Revenue % 34.90%





Scotland’s Social/welfare protection advantage in revenues


Revenue Advantage 2.09%







PENSIONS
UK Pensions as % of total government revenues
Pensions in Scotland as % of total Scottish revenues
2005-10

2005-10
Pensions Spend £353,472
Pensions Spend £31,459
UK Govt. Revenue £2,601,007
Scottish Revenue £252,781
Pensions as % of Revenue 13.59%
Pensions as % of Revenue 12.45%





Scotland’s state pension advantage in revenues


Revenue Advantage 1.14%







Source: Figures for social spend and pensions from the official Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report for 2009/10 [figures are millions]

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