There is no set of official accounts that tells us how an independent Scotland’s economy would fare, nor what its finances would look like.
Any attempt to analyse Scotland’s finances is instantly hampered by the fact that Scotland is not an independent nation and therefore does not have the same financial data, trade statistics, costs and revenue information available to work with that a normal independent country would have. The first thing to remember is that Scotland’s overall budget is set by Westminster. Seventy per cent of its revenues are controlled by Westminster and 40% of its spending. If Westminster wants Scotland counts to show a false deficit than Scotland accounts will show a false deficit.
Of the 26 income figures quoted in GERS, 25 are estimated and there are no fully reliable Scottish-specific income tax, corporation tax, VAT or national insurance figures. So if GERS does not accurately indicate what Scotland’s true financial position is as part of the UK and it most definitely does not tell us what our finances would look like after independence had been achieved. The fact that GERS is a set of accounts for Scotland as a region of the UK and not as a separate nation impacts on how the GERS figures are compiled
Open Minds on Independence #6