The price of being short-changed and ignored by Westminster

Whether it’s Brexit, City Deals, pensions or welfare, Tory governments at Westminster have a long record of short-changing Scotland.

Far from “levelling up” or a “Union dividend”, Scotland is repeatedly forced to pay the price for UK government cuts, damaging decisions, and the failure to adequately collect taxes.

Here’s a breakdown with just some examples.

£3 billion: Scotland’s “divorce bill” for a Brexit we never voted for

In 2014, the ‘No’ campaign infamously promised that voting ‘No’ was the only way to secure our EU membership.

In 2016, Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU – with all 32 out of 32 local authorities voting against Brexit, but Scotland was dragged out of the EU by a Tory government we did not vote for.

Scotland’s economy, communities and young people are now paying a heavy price for a Brexit that both Tories and Labour support, and on top of all this damage, we’re forced to foot the bill for a £3 billion “divorce bill”.

£2.8 billion: Scotland short-changed by UK government’s incompetent tax collection

Because of tax avoidance and the Westminster Tory government’s failure to close legal loopholes, Scotland loses out almost £3 billion a year in lost tax revenues.

The figure – which works out at more than £500 each for every person in Scotland – was revealed to members of Holyrood’s Finance Committee by OBR chief Andy King.

The powers to tackle avoidance for almost all taxes, including income tax, sit with Westminster – and despite the SNP’s consistent calls for greater tax transparency, Tory governments continue to ignore Scotland.

£2.6 billion: the cost of the Tory broken promise on pensions

By going back on their 2019 manifesto promise to maintain the Triple Lock pension guarantee, the Tories are short-changing Scotland’s pensioners by £2.6 billion.

This amounts to every pensioner losing out by £520 every year for the next 4 years – a political choice made by the UK government during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, on top of 13 years of Tory austerity.

£1.3 billion: promised but undelivered ‘levelling up’ funding

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove led a Brexit campaign that promised £1.5 billion a year for Scottish devolved services when the UK left the EU.

Fact is, all that was announced for Scotland is £172 million. For every £1 the UK government promised, they’ve given Scotland 11p – meaning Scotland has been short-changed by 89%.

Instead, much of the so-called ‘levelling up’ funding is going to bolster Tory seats in England.

£730 million: mitigating UK government welfare cuts

The Scottish Government has to spend hundreds of millions a year to mitigate some of the UK Tory government’s welfare benefit cuts, which are inflicting further suffering during a Tory cost of living crisis.

This includes around £650 million for our Scottish Child Payment – the only measure in the UK designed to lift children out of poverty – which we’ve increased to £25 a week in the space of 8 months.

We’re also mitigating the callous Tory bedroom tax by investing around £80 million in our Discretionary Housing Payments, and our Scottish Welfare Fund is helping to further shoulder some of the burden on hard-pressed families.

£420 million: shortfall in city growth deals

Six city deals across Scotland remain short-changed by Westminster to the tune of £420 million – which equals to around £439 per household in these areas.

For all the talk of “levelling up”, the UK government is failing to match Scottish Government funding for city deals.

In Aberdeen City Region for example, the Scottish Government is providing £379m of funding – compared to just £125m from the UK government.

£151 million: Scotland short-changed in EU replacement funding

The UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund fails to deliver promised funding for Scotland after Brexit, which we never voted for.

While as part of the EU, Scotland would be receiving around £183 million for 2022-23, the replacement money offered by the UK is only £32 million.

This means communities across the country will miss out on around £150 million of investment.

That’s communities across Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU, paying the price of Brexit – on top of the economic damage already caused, with lower growth, lower productivity and higher inflation.

£125 million: Scottish police and fire services short-changed by the UK government

Scottish police and fire services are losing £125 million in VAT, which has still not been compensated despite being scrapped in 2017.

No other territorial force in the UK had to pay VAT.

Having conceded the principle that it’s unfair to charge VAT only to Scottish services, the UK government has refused to pay the money back, at a time when services were already struggling due to Tory austerity.

£14 million a year: lost EU funding for Scotland’s rural communities

Because of the Brexit that the Tories and Labour are imposing on Scotland, our rural communities are losing out on £14 million a year of critical funding.

The EU funding has aided some 1,034 rural projects and over 2.25 million people.

The UK government promised replacement funding, but it’s coming way too late and still comes short compared to what Scotland was getting as a member of the EU.

Scotland can choose a better future than paying the price for Westminster control

These are just some examples of Scotland paying the price for a Tory government we haven’t voted for since the 1950s. It’s time to say enough is enough.

If you haven’t already, join over 550,000 people and pledge your support for independence.