GERS figures to show health of economy – BBC News

The Scottish government is to publish its latest calculation of taxation and spending in Scotland, as a guide to the health of the public finances.

The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) publication has been brought forward from March next year.

The figures included will cover the financial year 2015-16.

They are likely to show the Scottish balance sheet still clearly in the red, even including a share of oil.

Last year’s GERS figures were gloomy, depicting Scotland with a 15bn deficit.

‘Strong foundations’

That was twice the UK level as a share of economic output.

It seems unlikely that Wednesday’s figures will be rosy.

Opposition parties in Scotland are expected to argue the statistics point away from a positive case for independence.

But Scottish ministers will insist that Scotland’s economic foundations remain strong – and will again spotlight the challenge from Brexit.

On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, published an analysis of possible Brexit consequences, saying the Scottish economy could lose between 1.7bn and 11.2bn a year by 2030.

Opposition politicians accused her of trying to divert attention away from GERS figures, which they predicted would demonstrate the “fragility” of the Scottish economy.

Douglas Fraser: What do the GERS figures tell us about Scotland’s finances?

Image copyright PA

This approach to estimating how much Scots pay in tax, and how much they benefit from spending at all levels of government, goes back to the early 90s.

Conservative ministers in the Scottish Office thought it would help inform the debate on devolution, or at least it would help them make their case against a Scottish Parliament.

The numbers would show, they thought, how much more Scotland gained from the Treasury than it sent south in tax revenues.

That was one of those times when the oil price was low.

Seven years earlier, it was very high and oil revenues were like a gusher.


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GERS figures to show health of economy – BBC News

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