Eilidh Whiteford


Quiet Man Forced to Eat His Words on Welfare

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


The SNP has dismissed scaremongering from Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith over Scotland’s ability to sustain welfare support.

Highlighting figures from GERS (Government Expenditure & Revenue in Scotland) for 2010-11, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford pointed out that an independent Scotland is financially better placed to fund pensions and welfare compared to the UK as a whole.

The analysis of the figures from GERS for social protection - which includes state pensions and welfare payments - show that the size of Scotland's expenditure stands at 40% of Scottish revenues, less than the 42% for the UK.

Dr Whiteford said:

"Iain Duncan Smith styled himself as the quiet man and, after his ridiculous claims on welfare, I suspect the No campaign he will be hoping he keeps quiet in future.

"The official GERS figures show that spending on social protection as a percentage of total revenues in Scotland is consistently lower than it is in the UK - which means that welfare spending will be more affordable in an independent Scotland. And with Scotland contributing 9.6% of UK revenue in return for 9.3% of spending, the fact is that Scotland more than pays our way in the UK.

"Just like Mr Duncan Smith refuses to accept the facts about his damaging tax credit changes, the facts show that he completely wrong on Scotland's welfare spend in comparison to the UK.

"Looking at both sides of the balance sheet, over the five-year period from 2006/7 to 2010/11, Scotland was in a stronger financial position relative to the UK as a whole by a total of £8.6 billion- over £1,600 for every man, woman and child in Scotland, or over £3,600 per household. This underlines the opportunities of independence and financial responsibility.

"With unpopular NHS reforms south of the border and the Tory Chancellor eyeing a further £10bn of cuts from the welfare budget according to this morning’s papers, the Westminster government are determined to dismantle the welfare state.

“It is clear Scotland needs independence so that we can deliver a fair and effective welfare system - rather than be on the receiving end of unfair Tory policies - and the figures show that welfare spending in an independent Scotland will be more affordable because it is a smaller share of our tax revenue than is the case for the UK as a whole."

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