Westminster owe Scotland over £1bn, says Hosie

The SNP have accused Westminster of pocketing more than £1billion that should have gone to Scotland - including £184million Lottery funding diverted to the 2012 London Olympics and £400million in council tax benefits.

SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said £1.2billion was being withheld - or proposed to be - by Westminster. He said the amount was the equivalent of £874 for every family in Scotland.

Mr Hosie published figures showing the amount of money which quite rightly should be part of the Scottish budget and which the UK Labour Government is proposing to withhold from the Scottish Government.

These are: -

  • The threatened loss of £400 million from Council Tax Benefit money if Scotland goes ahead with abolishing the unfair Council Tax as voted for by the Scottish Parliament. This is despite post-devolution Treasury documents stating it is an integral part of Scotland's funding arrangements, the Scottish Block.
  • £120 million of Barnett consequentials from £1.2 billion spending on prisons south of the border from the "reserve". It is clear that under Barnett spending increases on prisons south of the Border generates 100% Barnett consequentials.
  • £342 million less for the Scottish budget because of changes in the health baseline by Alistair Darling in his much delayed Comprehensive Spending Review. This was the worst financial settlement for Scotland since devolution.
  • Over £184 million from Lottery Funding for Good Causes that was withdrawn to fund the London Olympics after a vote in the House of Commons. This was supported by Scottish Labour MPs.
  • The threatened loss of some £165 million in Barnett consequentials from London Olympic Regeneration spending. This is money for regenerating areas of London where the games will take place and outside direct funding for the games.
  • £8.1 million of compensation from DEFRA for farmers and crofters which was withdrawn when Gordon Brown postponed an election in October. This was originally in a draft statement by Hilary Benn but excluded from the final statement.
  • £370,000 which the Ministry of Defence is demanding from Tayside and Fife constabularies for security costs of the G8 and St Andrew's summits. The previous Lab/Lib Executive also believed this to be unreasonable, and the issue was inherited by the current government.

Mr Hosie said:

"The UK Labour government is behaving entirely unreasonably towards Scotland – and we can now quantify that in pounds, shillings and pence.

"But as the polls on party ratings and independence indicate, London Labour's bullying attitude towards the Scottish Government and Scotland is backfiring badly.

"Scotland is clearly short-changed in a whole variety of areas – to the tune of £874 per family - and the SNP will do all we can to ensure that Scotland gets just treatment from Westminster.

"This situation also reinforces the need for a democratic referendum on Scotland's future, and the need for the Scottish Parliament to be responsible for all revenue and spending.

"And the polls are all pointing in that direction – the surge in support for independence shows that the negative attitude being shown to the Scottish Government and Scotland by the UK Labour government is getting a strong reaction.

"The more that Westminster tries to lay down the law to Scotland, the greater the support there will be for independence and equality for Scotland.

"It is also clear that Scotland needs strong representation at Westminster to stand up for our interests.

"In what could be very tight arithmetic at Westminster after the next election, the bigger groups of SNP MPs that all the polls forecast will be returned could well hold the balance of power. In these circumstances, all the areas where Westminster is currently saying No to Scotland would very quickly change to Yes."

Notes:

1. The money being or proposing to be withheld is: -

CSR - £342,000,000
Olympic Lottery Funding - £184,208,400
FMD Compensation - £8,100,000
Prisons - £120,000,000
Olympic Regeneration Funding - £165,000,000
Council Tax Benefit - £400,000,000
G8 and St Andrew's summits - £370,000

TOTAL - £1,219,678,400.00

2. £238 per man woman and child in Scotland. (Using GROS 2006 population estimate of 5.12 million). Or £874 per family (assuming family size of father, mother and 1.67 children – GROS - 2006)

3. Background:

a. CSR
b. Olympic Lottery Funding
c. FMD Compensation
d. Prisons Funding
e. Council Tax Benefit
f. Olympic Regeneration Funding. It is estimated that £1.7 billion has been allocated for Olympics budget for regeneration of areas of London which last years beyond the games. This would create Barnett consequentials of around £33 million a year over the five years to 2012-13.
g. G8 and St Andrew's summits

Filed under: