Eilidh Whiteford


SNP Dismiss Gove's Schoolboy Bullying

Friday, 13 January 2012


The SNP has dismissed Tory scaremongering after England’s Education Secretary Michael Gove this morning made a series of unsubstantiated claims – including bizarre suggestions that an independent Scotland would no longer have an NHS or maintain welfare payments.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP rubbished Mr Gove’s scaremongering over the NHS and pointed out that an independent Scotland is better placed to fund pensions and welfare compared to the UK.

Dr Whiteford said:

“Michael Gove is behaving like a silly schoolboy – his Tory bullying of Scotland does not stand up to any scrutiny.

“Mr Gove is surely aware that Scotland’s NHS is already independent, which is why the Scottish Government have been able to shield it from the disastrous privatisation plans the Tories are pursuing in England.

“As for welfare, the reality is that Scotland is actually better placed to fund pensions and welfare compared to the UK. 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.

“When all of Scotland’s resources are included in our nation’s economic output, an independent Scotland would be ranked sixth in the world league table of OECD nations in terms of gross domestic product per head – ten places ahead of the UK at sixteen.”

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


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.

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