Referendum Answers

Short Answers to Popular Questions about Scottish Independence

Who's subsidising whom? Or, The Barnet Formula

Q. I heard that the budget for Scotland is £1,200 a head more than is spent in England. How will we afford that if we're independent?

A. No problem.

Yes, it's actually true what Better Together, Alistair Darling and the Daily Mail all say. Scottish spending is in fact £1,200 more per head in Scotland than in England.

What they don't tell you is that we contribute £1,700 more per head! So we're actually losing £500 a head by being part of the UK. What's all that about? We didn't see that bit in the Daily Mail.

It's complicated and simple all at the same time. We contribute money through taxes and we get some back to finance the Scottish goverment. How much we get is calculated by a formula called the Barnet formula, and it's based on UK spending. For example, if the money spent on the English NHS goes down, say because they're privatising bits of it, then some of Scotland's cash goes down accordingly, even though we're not privatising any of our NHS.

It goes two ways too. For example, your money's going to pay for the new HS2 railway, even though it's not coming anywhere near Scotland.

So here's the thing. If we were independent, we wouldn't have to rely on London hand-outs of our own cash. Instead, we'd be able to spend all of our taxes on the Scottish people, all £1,700 a head of it. Keep that in mind the next time someone tells you the Scots are subsidy junkies. Laugh in their face and tell them they'll be sorry when we're gone.