John Blundell, IEA; "Adam Smith must be rolling in his grave."
WELCOME to McCuba. Scotland is set to become the third most state-dependent country in the world. Soon Havana and Baghdad will be the only capitals that rely more on public spending than Edinburgh, according to economic forecasters.
They say the uneven flow of government funds to north of the border is putting an “unfair burden” on English taxpayers. They predict that public spending will soon rise to the equivalent of almost 70% of Scotland’s gross domestic product.
The CEBR paper, commissioned by The Sunday Times, shows that the annual public sector wage bill in Scotland has risen by 55% to £12 billion since the Scottish parliament was established in 1999, with nearly one in four working for the state. A further £2.3 billion is spent annually on pensions for public sector workers, whose ranks have grown by nearly 50,000 in the past 10 years.
The report will renew concerns among English taxpayers about the preferential treatment enjoyed by the Scots, who benefit from free personal care for the elderly, no tuition fees and free school meals.
The extra level of funding per head that Scotland receives has grown from £828 in 1999 to £1,644. In 1999 the state spent £4,993 per head in Scotland and £4,165 in England. Now Scotland receives £9,179 and England gets £7,535.
If Cameron was to look for anywhere to cut the tax burden for English voters I have an idea where he might start, but I don't think he is really interested in doing so....