Scotland in a 'stronger fiscal position than the rest of the UK'


Finance Secretary John Swinney said Scotland was in a stronger fiscal position than the rest of the UK during a debate on Scotland's financial strength on 21 March 2013.

Mr Swinney said that according to the recent Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) report showed Scotland in a relatively stronger budget position than the UK as a whole, to the value of £824 per person or £4.4 billion as a nation last year.

He said the real risk to Scotland came from remaining as part of the UK where the chancellor's pan was not working.

The finance secretary said there was "no doubt Scotland could afford independence" and it was becoming ever more clear that Scotland could not afford not to be independent.

Scottish Labour MSP Ken Macintosh said the GERS figures supported his view that Scotland's strength lay within the UK.

Mr Macintosh said the SNP argument amounted to "our overdraft is not quite as bad a your overdraft".

Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson Gavin Brown said there were "big dangers" in relying on a single year's GERS figures and said spending was "substantially higher" per head in Scotland.

Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said the SNP were guilty of "unbridled make believe" when it now said projected oil revenues would always be high and predictable.

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