Scotland £8.5billion worse off than rest of UK thanks to SNP – study

Scotland would be £8.5billion better off if it had grown at the same rate as the rest of the UK over the course of the last decade, a new study has claimed.

And the Scottish government, now led by First Minister Humza Yousaf, has been accused of being “bereft of ambition”, with Scots “paying the price” for the SNP’s failure.

The report, published by Scottish Labour, is based on an analysis of ONS regional GDP figures covering the period from 2012 to 2021.

It also suggests Scotland’s economy lags behind the growth in other regions of the UK.

If the growth in Scotland’s economy had kept pace with North West England, it would be a whopping £11.5 billion bigger, if it had replicated the growth in Wales it would be £9.6 billion larger and if it had kept up with the West Midlands it would larger by £9.1 billion.

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As such, Scotland’s GDP would be £834 more per head in Scotland if it had replicated the overall UK growth, £1,567 more if it had kept up with the North West of England and £2,376 if it had followed Wales.

The analysis was released the day before the Scottish Government is due to publish its Budget for 2024/25, with a report published by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) warning it was facing a funding black hole of around £1.5 billion.

Commenting on the research, Scottish Labour Finance spokesman Michael Marra said: “The SNP’s low growth economy has robbed billions of pounds from Scotland’s economy.

“While regions like the North West have thrived with the devolved mayors in Manchester and Liverpool, Scotland’s potential has been held back by an SNP government bereft of ideas or ambition.

“This growth gap has hammered public finances, and now the SNP is gearing up to slash frontline services and hike taxes once again.

“Scots are sick of paying the price of SNP failure – we need a government focused on growing our economy, creating quality jobs, and protecting public services.”

Tory leader Douglas Ross was similarly scathing, saying: “Economic growth has been anaemic in SNP Scotland compared to the rest of the UK – and it’s costing the country dear.”

Referring to the deputy First Minister, also Cabinet Secretary for Finance, he continued: “Despite Shona Robison’s desperate attempts to blame the UK Government for the enormous black hole in the SNP Government’s finances, everyone knows where the blame lies.

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“Her government has received the biggest block grant ever from Westminster, as well as £545million in Barnett Consequentials from the Chancellor’s autumn statement.”

The £1.5 billion gap which Ms Robison was trying to plug “is down to that pitifully slow growth, along with a mix of uncosted public sector pay deals and council tax freezes and industrial-scale SNP waste”, Mr Ross claimed.

He continued: “The SNP’s tin ear for Scottish business is clear from their refusal to pass on the rates relief enjoyed by firms south of the border and them making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK, hampering the recruitment and retention of staff.

“But it’s hardly surprising that economic growth is an afterthought, given they invited the extremist anti-business Greens into government.”

Speaking yesterday, Ms Robison said: “In the face of a deeply challenging financial situation, this Budget will reaffirm our social contract with the people of Scotland,” she said.

“The autumn statement was devastating for Scottish finances. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has acknowledged that it will lead to planned real-terms cuts in public service spending.”

She continued: “Scotland is facing a 9.8 per cent cut to our capital budget for infrastructure between this year and 2027-28.

“The £10.8 million additional health consequentials we received from the autumn statement for next year are enough to run NHS Scotland for just five hours, and UK Government funding for justice, housing and communities, net zero, energy, and environment are all being cut in real-terms.

“All this comes on top of more than a decade of UK Government under-investment that has left our public services with very little resilience. has approached the SNP for comment in relation to Labour’s analysis.

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