SNP MP Stewart Hosie has accused the treasury of misleading the Scottish public
Scottish news: Westminster released false figures to ‘distort’ Scottish economy
by Laura Wilkinson
It emerged last night that a UK treasury report released last week used adjusted figures based on the 2001 census, releasing findings over Scottish public spending raising fears that UK civil servants will be deployed to manipulate public opinion ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum.
Stewart Hosie, SNP MP for Dundee East, has accused UK treasury’s use of inaccurate and misleading public spending figures in Scotland as a “dodgy dossier of meaningless figures” designed to support the anti-independence campaign.
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The treasury report based on the 2001 census to project Scottish public spending per head whereas figures for London and the UK were based on the 2011 census. The treasury’s findings show the average public spending per person in Scotland to be £10,088 compared to £9,613 for Londoners.
However, it has been reported that if the numbers for London had been calculated using the 2001 census figures, the average Londoner would be the recipient of £678 more than the average Scot.
The manipulation of the figures will heighten Scots' distrust of Westminster and the UK’s civil service at a time when Unionist parties are struggling to instil confidence in the UK parliament’s competence.
The treasury report claims that Scotland is one of the most costly areas for UK public spending and so the revelations of using misleading data will be widely perceived as an attempt to undermine Scottish self-confidence by encouraging a view of Scots as 'subsidy junkies'.
Mr Hosie said that the report did not take suitable adjustment in its calculations, underestimating the UK population distributions and not considering the tax contribution per capita.
He said: “The fact of the matter is that Scotland contributes 9.6% of UK tax revenues despite forming just 8.4% of the UK’s population.”
Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, used the figures to persuade the public that Scotland benefits from being part of the union with the UK.
The SNP has criticised the use of the figures by the no campaign as “painting a distorted picture of Scotland” to win support for the anti-independence campaign.
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