“The economic case for Scottish independence has collapsed completely”

Rosyth Royal Naval Dockyard

“Babcock, which bought Rosyth from the Ministry of Defence in 1996, has said that its single biggest customer is the UK Government. Its main Scottish business consists of building five Type 31 frigates for the Royal Navy, which Mr Lockwood said could be moved to England within three years, and decommissioning the Dounreay nuclear plant. Babcock has created 500 Scottish jobs on the Type 31 project. The latest figures show the MoD spent £1.99 billion of taxpayers’ money in Scotland in 2020-21: equivalent to £360 per person, compared with a spend of £310 per person in England. There is no reason why such largesse should continue after independence.

And a Scotland that suffered economically after independence would need to raise taxes, driving businesses out of the country. It would drive out economically productive individuals, too, leaving a tax base comprised of those used to being net recipients of state funds rather than contributors to them. In 2021-22 Scotland received £38 billion under the Barnett formula: or around £129 per head of spending in Scotland for every £100 per head spent in England. In 2020-21 (the last year for which figures are available) the Scots paid 7.9 per cent of UK tax but received 9.1 per cent of UK spending.”

Comment: This sounds like a case of special pleading on the part of the author, but, what do I know? pl



This entry was posted in Whatever. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “The economic case for Scottish independence has collapsed completely”

  1. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    re: :”And a Scotland that suffered economically after independence would need to raise taxes, driving businesses out of the country. It would drive out economically productive individuals, too, leaving a tax base comprised of those used to being net recipients of state funds rather than contributors to them.”

    Yes, if the continue to use the British pound, and probably yes again of they’re foolish enough to sign up as a member of the Euro currency zone. But probably not if they establish their own currency and manage their economy according to the precepts of Modern Monetary Theory instead of the establishment’s neoclassical Economics. This could be test case for MMT. If they do so and it succeeds neoclassical Econ will be irreversibly on its way to a fate comparable with the phlogiston theory of combustion.

  2. Frank James says:

    The real killer of the Nats cause was, ironically, Brexit. Brexit has given them an excuse for demanding another referendum, but their case was very dependent on frictionless trade, post-independence, between 2 EU nations.

    Now, there will be a hard customs border with the UK. So they will gain customs free access to the EU (20% of exports and falling) and lose customs free exports to the UK (60% of exports).

    It was always a weak case, that is really based on lingering resentment in the central belt of Thatcher’s deindustrialization, and now with metlib petulance at Brexit. I never thought it would be enough to unravel 400 years of history and split with your kith and kin.

    • English Outsider says:

      Wouldn’t be so sure about loss of customs-free exports to England if Scotland joined the EU. Brussels has long arms and big fists and HMG a habit of rolling over whenever Brussels says “Boo!”. We’d probably end up with a border in Milton Keynes, no tariffs, and the UK agreeing to come back under the EU regulatory umbrella. If we ever manage to leave it in the first place.

      The Scots wouldn’t even have to give Brussels their fish. On account of Johnson having given them that already.

    • JohninMK says:

      A real blow has been the exposure of the actual problems of a possible hard border with the England as shown by the experiences with Northern Ireland.

      Seeing this may make a significant number of Scots realise that that being in the EU would not all be sweetness and light.

      The more cynical may think that ‘bigging’ up those problems would play well in London where Scottish Independence is viewed with horror.

    • LondonBob says:

      True but people have always been willing to pay an economic, or higher, price for independence, although I tend to agree Brexit has made it impossibly high. The unionist campaign that focused solely on economics almost lost the Scottish independence referendum campaign, that they should have won handily. A nation is not just an economic arrangement, it is about blood and spiritual bonds, something our current elite would not understand. Destroyers have an economic role and provide jobs, but perhaps the elite should ask themselves what it is those who have served on those destroyers’ forerunners were risking their lives for.

      Blair’s constitutional vandalism has done perhaps irreparable harm to the union, the symbols and institutions of the union have been marginalised and the Scottish executive have been very assiduous in setting up new ones. As Enoch Powell prophesised our unitary state unravelled when devolution was granted. So we remain trapped in this unhappy arrangement for which a solution is either independence or an end to devolution alongside other reforms. Frankly I dislike the left wing and authoritarian bent of Scottish politics and would welcome further powers being granted to England. I have no interest in further concessions at England’s expense however I expect we will remain trapped in this halfway house.

      Besides this all seems trivial to me, the malaise of the West is far deeper, whilst taking powers down to a more local level might be part of the answer, as we have seen with Brexit, we need a wholesale replacement of the current ruling class if such devolution of powers is not to be hijacked and stymied by the likes of the wee dictator Sturgeon, or neocon fanatics like Gove, as the causes of Scottish independence and Brexit have been.

  3. exiled off mainstreet says:

    Nicola Ceaucescu’s (Sturgeon-s) covid excesses have also taken much of the air out of the tires of the independence juggernaut, along with her series of absurd politically correct edicts. Too little discussed is the persecution of original independence stalwart Alec Salmond, as well as the judicial extra-legal appearing proscriptions against Murray, the diplomat, who had the temerity to report truthfully on the cases against Salmond rather than follow the official narrative framework. I haven’t been there recently, so I’m just guessing, was there quite often earlier. My instinct tells me all of this will seriously weaken the independence effort in the coming months.

  4. d74 says:

    An independent Scotland means that the Royal Navy will lose port facilities, maintenance and shipyards.

    It’s already not so good: 6 out of 6 Type 45 destroyers are alongside or in dock for various reasons: propulsion-energy conceptual defect, endless and costly corrective repairs, lack of crew.

    Details here: https://www.navylookout.com/the-royal-navys-type-45-destroyers-status-report/

    Navylookout is a serious and surprisingly informative site.

  5. TV says:

    Scottish independence, like Quebec Libre, has always been entirely emotional.
    Scotland has been part of the UK since 1707 and they’re still complaining about it.
    Common language, customs and 300 years of common history including many wars.
    Get over it.
    North Sea oil is drying up; what else does Scotland have for an economy?
    Shipbuilding which could very well migrate to England, whiskey, mutton, tartans.

  6. English Outsider says:

    Colonel – you mention the Barnett formula. It’s entirely proper, and is in fact part and parcel of being a union, that the richer areas should transfer part of their riches to the poorer. The Londoners who grumble about that don’t understand what union is about. But then, many Londoners are progs so don’t understand most things.

    On the larger question of independence, no reason why the Scots should not go that way. As mentioned before, it’ll be the very devil if they do. It’ll mean we have the EU on our doorstep. But that would be part of the inevitable fallout and would have to be dealt with.

    I’d like to know how much of the drive for independence is just that, and how much is due to the fact that the Scots are fed up to the back teeth with Westminster. Certainly the de haut en bas attitude of HMG to the SNP can’t be helping much.

    Given all that, if I were Scottish I’d go for it. But they’d have to manage it a lot more cleverly than we managed our own attempt at independence. Get themselves some politicians who really meant it, for a start.

  7. James Doleman says:

    As a Scottish person can I ask, did your Founding Fathers step back from independence for economic reasons?

  8. joe90 says:

    There has never been a case for Scottish economic independence, even when North sea oil was big (in the 80s). That was the reason Scotland joined with England in the first place. A political and economic union to take on the world and France. Simple geography tells the truth.

    The SNP is just a stuge of Europe. They want an independent Scotland with in the EU! having admitted in the early 90s that there economic plans even with oil were BS. Personally I have long thought the the majority of none scots would smugly vote them out of the union if given a chance.

Comments are closed.