Well, yesterday the Scottish Government published the Gers report on Scotland's public finances. This shows that in 2013/14, people in Scotland paid £400 more in tax than the UK as a whole but they also received £1,200 more in spending. While the figures include oil and gas revenues, the time lag means they don’t include the most recent fall in production and tax yield.
The IFS has projected the impact of falling oil revenues on Scotland’s budget if the SNP's Devo-Max plan was in place. They calculate:
“that if Scotland were fiscally autonomous in 2015–16, its budget deficit would be around 4.0% of GDP higher than that of the UK as a whole. In cash terms, this is equivalent to a difference of around £6.6 billion.”
So, we apologise, we underestimated the impact, it's actually worse than Tory austerity - It's Devo Austerity Plus.
The STUC yesterday reminded us why all the trade union submissions to the Smith Commission opposed Devo-Max.
“Today’s report is a sobering reminder of some of the risks of full fiscal autonomy for Scotland."
Replacing the Barnett formula with Devo-Max would result in big cuts to the budgets for our NHS and schools, as well an end to the UK-wide pensions system. Even on yesterday's numbers it would have cost £4 billion to Scotland in 2013/14, or more than £800 per person.
Here's what the experts say.
Gers exposes the reality of the SNP's devo-austerity plus. Labour's spending plans provide a sharp contrast to Tory austerity. So we agree....