Thursday, 10 October 2013

Here are the facts

As a Civil Servant in London working on Government Finance, I always believed that Scotland was the poor relation of the United Kingdom and could not survive without subsidies from Westminster.  It was quite a shock when, for the first time, I was able to look at the Nation's "books", to find that the situation was exactly the opposite and that Scotland was a net provider for the rest of the UK.  It was obvious that the Treasury wished to keep this a secret.  I decided to check the position year by year, and found that Scotland was always in credit, unlike the rest of the UK.  Scotland, of course, did not receive one penny of the oil and gas revenues which poured into the Treasury's coffers.

Since production began in the 1970s, the oil and gas industry has contributed approximately £300 billion in tax receipts (2012/13 prices) to the UK Exchequer, around 90% of which has been generated by production in Scottish waters. In 2011-12 alone, oil and gas production in Scottish waters generated £10.6 billion in tax revenues, the second highest nominal level of tax revenue in the past 25 years. The annual tax revenues from oil and gas production in Scotland's portion of the UKCS have averaged over £1,500 per person in Scotland since 1980.

In 2012, oil and gas production is estimated to have contributed around £22 billion to Scottish GDP - making it the largest industrial sector in Scotland by a large margin. Oil and gas production also boosted the UK balance of payments by some £40 billion in 2011.

At the end of my Civil Service career I decided to write an article showing the position of how Scotland had been misled.  Rather naively, I thought that one of Scotland's daily newspapers would publish my article. When this failed, I wondered who might be interested.  A friend suggested that I should approach Newsnet Scotland, known to be a website supportive of Independence.  I offered my article under the title "Would An Independent Scotland Be Financially Sound?” and it was published by them on their website on 1st February 2012.

The reaction was sensational with 17,000 visits in the first 48 hours (a record) and the article began appearing on other websites.  Almost all the responses were supportive.  Another surprise lay in store when it was picked up by the Metro Newspaper Group and published in 3.3. million copies, 1.7 million of which were distributed in London. You can also find the article on my own blog here:

However, the pretence that Scotland could not survive on its own has been dispelled somewhat by three statements, viz:

2007.  David Cameron – "It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another … successful independent country".

2012.  Alistair Darling.  – "Now our case is not that Scotland cannot survive as a separate state.  Of course it could".

2012.  Lord Nigel Lawson (former Tory Chancellor) – "Scotland is perfectly capable of being an independent nation … There are many independent countries in the world which have a lot less going for them".

In 2013, David Cameron again commented but in a slightly different tone – "Scotland is perfectly capable of going its own way, but we are better together".  As the cynic might say "Better together as long as you have all Scotland's Oil Revenues". 

Where is Mr Cameron's integrity when he can allow Scotland to be bombarded with false reports and statistics from the "No” campaign saying that we are doomed to bankruptcy?

He knows that "Fear" is the only weapon that the “No” campaign has, and it is difficult to counteract false information, as the whole media – from newspapers to radio - are in full control of the Unionist propaganda machine.  I believe that the only answer is to keep publishing the truth and, in the end, truth will win.

How are these negative but authentic looking reports produced?  I had a clue to this late in my Civil Service career when I was presented with an "Answer" to which I had to "massage" the statistics to fit.  My immediate response was – "Over my dead body".  This made me realise just how deceitful a UK Government could be.  No doubt they found someone else to do the dirty work, but over the years it became apparent to me that dishonesty in the higher echelons of the Westminster Government is rife.  With the current stream of scare stories I ask myself the question – "Are democracy and decency dead?" 

Allow me to expose just a couple of the cruel lies that have been broadcast to scare the people of Scotland

[1] "Scotland with its larger number of Government jobs, would not be able to pay pensions and other items of support within the "social protection bill".

The facts are that the "Social Protection Bill" for Scotland accounts for 38% of the taxes raised here, as against 42% for the UK as a whole (GERS 2011-12). This means that Scotland will be far better able to afford pensions, etc., when it becomes independent than the UK as a whole is now.

[2] The “No” campaign claims that Scotland could not rely on its oil revenues to balance its books due to big fluctuations in the oil price.

Firstly, Scotland is already solvent without the oil, and as Scotland has approximately only 10% of the population of the UK, the Oil Revenues for Scotland will be 10 times as valuable, making Scotland the 8th richest nation in the world (Source: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] International League Table).

The top oil men, interviewed on Radio Scotland on 20 April 2013, said that wild fluctuation in the price of oil will not occur, and the most we will ever see is a few pence difference at the pumps.  Overall, in time, the trend will always be upwards. [There is of course the possibility that oil extraction could be interrupted due to instrument failure or a safety concern.  Such an occurrence could easily be dealt with by setting up an Oil Fund – a regular sum of money being invested each year, ready to make good any deficiency that might occur in a particular year.]

So where can we find the real truth about Scotland?  Surprisingly, it is not difficult to find. All we need to do is to look at the Government's own GERS financial figures for the year 2011-12, published in April 2013. [1]

Scotland contributed 9.9% of the UK taxes, but got only 9.3% back, a surplus of £4.4 billion.

Put simply, with independence, everyone in Scotland will be £824 better off. 

The people of Scotland are clamouring to hear the truth.  Please feel free to copy these facts and spread the news around.

[1] Please see my subsequent blog "GERS Report 2012-13" for an update on the GERS figures.

See also:  More blogs by John Jappy


Wilma Watts said...

Many thanks Mr Jappy, I have copied your article that appeared in and passed it on to many sceptics. Keep the information flowing, facts are what we need. Wilma Watts

bill mclean said...

Terrific stuff Mr Jappy - will pass some of your articles on to my circle of "need information" acquaintances. Thank You.

Stephen Docherty said...

This article highlights many things but nothing new all government & local government departments waste vast amounts of Public Money. The Scottish Parliament in what it costs us for the building and what they do in it annually.
Local government is top heavy with directors & managers receiving inflated salaries for very little productivity the same can be said for the NHS senior management & Civil Servants. Many wouldn't earn anything like the salaries they are on in the private sector. The public will be concerned that they are still going to have to dig deep to pay for all these very generous pensions whether you vote YES or NO.
All we are hearing from both sides tit for tat no substance, if we leave the union Scotland will be left to sink or swim, England, Wales & N. Ireland will leave use to get on with it.

It's great being Scottish but nobody North of the Border wants an uncertain future especially when it has taken 7 years to see a glimmer of a economic recovery in Scotland !