Scotland to be self-sufficient

What’s wrong in this photo? [See comments.]

David Farrer has an interesting soundbite from Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett who explains how Scotland has been “subsidizing” the rest of the UK via revenue, which should have been paid to Scotland, actually going south.

His solution is that if Scotland broke free of the UK tax regimes and ran its own tax, corporate tax would be lower and thus there’d be more money about.  In my ignorance of matters Scottish, I asked:

What would Scotland be producing and exporting, David, aside from whisky?  I’m not saying they wouldn’t but would like to know what would sustain the Scottish economy.

David replies in his own comments thread and I quote here:

“Scottish international exports in 2008 (excluding oil and gas) are provisionally estimated at £20.7 billion, of which £14 billion is attributable to manufacturing sector companies. This represents an increase in overall exports of £1.7 billion since 2007, due to a rise in the manufacturing sector exports of £935 million and a rise in service sector exports of £715 million.

• The top 5 exporting industries in 2008 were chemicals (including refined petroleum products) (£3.5 billion), food & beverages (£3.4 billion), business services (£2.3 billion), the wholesale, retail & accommodation sector (£1.4 billion) and manufacture of machinery and equipment not elsewhere classified (£1.4 billion). Together these industries accounted for well over half of total exports from Scotland.”

See here for details of the £63 billion exported to the world including the rest of the UK:

Alcohol makes up around 6%


I await the English response.

12 comments for “Scotland to be self-sufficient

  1. October 27, 2010 at 07:46
  2. October 27, 2010 at 07:50


    Ice in your whisky!!!

  3. October 27, 2010 at 08:15

    I take mine neat, David or if in a shattered mood, a drop of water.

  4. Rossa
    October 27, 2010 at 08:18

    So what would they do about Defence? Build their own aircraft carriers, subs, planes etc? Or would they rely on the EU to protect them? That raises all sorts of questions like border controls and England’s security. Or are we just talking raising our own taxes but we’ll still be under the UK umbrella for the things we can’t afford?

    And anyway, with the EU now planning direct taxation there is little point in Scotland raising their own. Perhaps they will just end up with handouts from our masters in Brussels like we all will eventually when we wake up and realise we are only a region in Greater Europe.

  5. Rossa
    October 27, 2010 at 08:20

    Photo is probably Bourbon!

  6. Rossa
    October 27, 2010 at 08:21

    Me too James. Current favourite is Auchentoshan.

  7. Patrick Harris
    October 27, 2010 at 11:08

    The easy and only solution is for them to have their (second) referendum, this time, on complete and utter independence.
    How will they cope with the return of the Scottish diaspora?

  8. dearieme
    October 27, 2010 at 14:07

    “the return of the Scottish diaspora” may be less noticeable than the drift of English refugees from an increasingly alien society.

  9. dearieme
    October 27, 2010 at 14:28

    I’ve always known that the figures tossed around on Scotland’s “subsidy” were twaddle, but I wasn’t aware that there were alternative figures available. Mind you, you don’t necessarily know until the deed is done. After all, the Nationalists had always assured the Irish that they subsidised Britain,but when Eire left the UK it turned out that the subsidy had actually been from Britain to Ireland.

  10. October 27, 2010 at 23:09

    The categories quoted are interesting:

    Do those exports from Scotland include goods and services sold in or to England?

    Refined petroleum products, for instance, what does that mean? Does it include things produced at premises in the ‘U’K region of Scotland by multinational companies using petroleum that may have come from the ‘U’K sector of the North Sea, and may have come from anywhere on the planet? Presumably those Scots, and others who live in Scotland, were paid for the work they did. In what way are they Scotch earnings?

    Does the reference to ‘accommodation’ include hotels? The last figures I looked at showed that ninety per cent of tourists to Scotland went there from England. That’s not to say that all tourists from England were English but a good proportion of them must have been and it’s not unreasonable to observe that money paid from the ‘U’K region of Scotland to the British government that came originally from English pockets is in no way a ‘subsidy’ to the ‘U’K.

    Did the sums that identified the alleged Scotch subsidy to the rest of the ‘U’K include the eye watering sums of money a Scotch dominated Labour government stole from the English tax payer to bail out the incompetent Scotch banking system, the same Scotch banking system that we are told was once such an example to the world of how banks should be run?

    Does Professor Hughes Hallet really believe that the money that should have been paid to ‘Scotland’ (Does he mean the Scotch ‘government’?) was diverted ‘south’ (by those perfidious English presumably), suggesting that some unfair and discriminatory levy has been made on Scotch goods and services, , or simple chicanery perpetrated, by the ‘English’ government, which is how most of them regard the Scotch dominated and Scotch favouring British government. The bills were presumably paid and the relevant taxes and other levies paid to the British government. What should have gone to Scotland that didn’t?

    The last time I looked at the figures there were just one hundred and sixty thousand or so net tax payers in Scotland, out of a population of five million, with a ‘U’K population of sixty million. Are we in England, all fifty one million of us, seriously expected to believe that the money contributed by those one hundred and sixty thousand exceeds our own contribution?

    The Jocks have always expected the English to pay the price of ‘union’, and never to question why, and have never expected to make any contribution themselves, and they seem never to have regarded themselves as British except when access to English money and English opportunities makes it convenient for them to do so.

    I’d love to see the Jocks paying for themselves but I’m becoming resigned to the possibility that the prospect is unlikely in my lifetime.

    That notwithstanding, whether the Scotch can stand on their ‘ane twa’ (Old English words and not Scotch) feet is irrelevant to the people of England. All that matters to us is that we are rid of the burden they are, and the pernicious control they have over our affairs.

    As for figures: Where can we find figures comparing what is spent in Scotland by the British government, and on its behalf in Scotland by the laughably self-styled Scotch ‘government’, with what is raised there in taxes (whether from the earnings of exporters to England of what has previously been imported from England or the levies on fags and booze consumed by the subsidy junkies)?

    As for the diaspora: England would be much better off if the eight hundred thousand to one million Scots estimated to live amongst us, many of them benefits dependents, were to take themselves home and the half million or so English people who live there were to return.

    Here’s to independence for England.

  11. October 28, 2010 at 06:35


    I’m going to be tied up on other matters for a few days and will respond more fully later.

    However this post of mine may be of interest.

    On the bizarre “160,000 net taxpayers” claim I wrote this:

    This is from the BBC:

    The number of unemployed in Scotland has fallen and is close to an all-time low, according to official figures.
    Employment statistics equalled a previous high set in 1992 showing 2.53 million people in work, an increase of 60,000 since last year.

    All in the public sector I suppose? OK, OK, except for those admirable 160,000 “contributors” of whom I am one.
    Not quite:

    There were 580,500 working in the public sector in the first quarter of 2007 – down 4,900 or 0.8% – compared to the same period last year.
    … It compares with almost two million workers who were employed in the private sector in Scotland in the first quarter of 2007.

    None of that’s surprising. As I wrote here:

    Mr Smith finds that the Scottish GVA per capita comes in at 96.2 against a UK index of 100. That puts us economically below London, the Southeast and the East of England, but above the other eight UK regions. Not too bad, I’d say. Smith then does something rather clever. He adjusts the regional per capita output figures to take account of the differing costs of living. Scotland’s “real” GVA per capita now comes out at 101.8 against the UK’s 100. So we produce a bit less than the UK average but it goes further
    And none of that includes any North Sea oil.

  12. November 3, 2010 at 18:35

    My reply is here.

Comments are closed.