By Bruce Crawford MSP
Today the annual GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures have been released and again what we see is Scotland’s strong and growing economy. We have seen the total revenue reach an amazing £62.7 billion in the year 2018-19 with onshore revenue growing by £3 billion. This has been the fastest growth since 2010-11 and shows the amazing strength of the Scottish economy. It is important to remember however that the figures presented in the report also includes UK government spending in Scotland including allocated funds to Scotland for areas like Trident nuclear weapons and high speed rail HS2 (which is planned to only come as far north as Leeds). Other reserved areas are included in these figures such as defence which the Scottish Government has no control over.
This is good news for people here in the Stirling area, and across Scotland. People and businesses in Stirling will benefit hugely from our strong economy. Scotland’s deficit is also falling at a faster rate than anywhere else in the UK as a result of the strength of the Scottish economy. For Stirling, we could see more money coming into the local economy improving jobs, investment and living standards.
Our success is in large part due to our relationship with other EU countries; the fastest growing market for Scottish goods is the rest of the EU. The current UK Government’s Brexit plan poses a huge risk to that success. Brexit is a threat jobs, investment and living standards to people across the UK, Scotland and right here in the Stirling area. Brexit could see Scotland’s revenue fall by £2.5 billion per year, and the choice between leaving with or without a deal is similar to choosing between a disaster and a catastrophe.
Ultimately, today’s GERS figures underline the need for independence. The UK Government continues to make key economic decisions which are bad for Scotland – leaving the European Union being the most prominent of those today. An independent Scotland will have the ability to make our own decisions in the interest of our country.
Scotland has a strong, growing economy and our future will be far brighter and prosperous with independence in Europe.