In 2018- 19, Scotland ran a budget deficit of 7 per cent of gross domestic product, compared with 1.1 per cent for the whole of the UK. Scotland’s revenue per head, even including a geographic share of North Sea revenues (ie the overwhelming majority of them), was £11,531, compared with £11,838 for the whole of the UK.
Scotland’s public expenditure per head is significantly higher than the whole of the UK — £13,854 versus £12,193. Higher spending and lower taxes mean that Scotland has a fiscal problem. Nobody, including the SNP’s Growth Commission, has come up with the answer to this. Scotland needs either substantially higher tax revenues or an austerity programme much more severe than that experienced by the UK over the past decade.
The disagreement being rather that he doesn’t want to believe it instead of any actual reason.