Saturday, 22 December 2012

Humiliating Factual Inaccuracy Holes "NO" Campaign Credibility

The Anti-independence campaign faced humiliation today as it emerged a briefing for activists on Scotland’s finances released by the campaign contained a major factual inaccuracy.

In attempting to discredit the fact that an independent Scotland would have had a smaller deficit than Scotland’s population share of the UK’s deficit in 2010/11, the No campaign claimed that “This calculation assumes that the Barnett formula – used to calculate Scotland’s budget – would still be in place if Scotland voted to break away from the rest of the United Kingdom. It would not. The Barnett formula would end with independence."

However, this assertion is completely false as the public sector revenue calculations contained in the GERS figures are based on taxes and other Government incomes generated in Scotland and have absolutely nothing to do with the Barnett formula.

Based on those revenues, and with borrowing at the same rate as the UK – Scotland would have had a relative surplus of £2.7bn in 2010/11, the equivalent of £500 per head.

This lack of understanding of Scotland’s finances is a major embarrassment for the anti-independence campaign given the position of former Chancellor Alistair Darling at the head of the campaign.

Commenting, SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn who sits on the Finance Committee said:

“This is either complete financial illiteracy from the anti-independence campaign, or a deliberate attempt to create an utterly misleading picture of Scotland’s finances.

“It speaks volumes about the No campaign’s lack of credibility that they appear not to even understand the basics of what the GERS figures are.

“Scotland produces a larger percentage of UK revenues than is spent in Scotland and significantly more than our population share. Those figures have absolutely nothing to do with the Barnett Formula, so why is the anti-independence campaign instructing their activists to claim that it is?

“Given the state in which he left the UK’s economy as Chancellor, perhaps we should not be surprised that a campaign headed by Alistair Darling has such little understanding of public finances.

“Misleading people in Scotland with such factually incorrect information is no way to fight a campaign and will inevitably only backfire on the anti-independence campaign."


Notes: The anti-independence campaign’s inaccurate briefing can be viewed at http://b.3cdn.net/5b8b82ad2fa5b7fe48_1zm6i22gg.pdf
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