Taxpayers and the tapestry
Alex Orr (letters, December 22) lists the freebies available to Scots through public spending that is 20% higher than in England.
He omits the crucial fact that those freebies and that spending are paid for by the English taxpayer. The nationalists always omit the essential truth that Scotland is kept afloat by the British Treasury and the Bank of England.
If Scotland was an independent country it would have a fiscal deficit of £14.5bn – worse even than Greece. Break the Union and you break Scotland as a going concern.
Scotland has been in the red every year since devolution – even when oil revenues were high. Now that they have plummeted, things have gone from bad to worse.
Scotland’s deficit of 9.5% is well over the 3% required for EU membership which the SNP bosses crave. To kneel at the door of Brussels, income tax would have to rise from 20p to 39p, or VAT would have to increase to 40%. Alternatively, savage spending cuts would have to be implemented, sweeping away all the freebies, slashing the NHS budget by 80%, stopping all spending on roads and railways, and giving up on even the pretence of armed forces.
Mind you, even without the ball and chain of independence, it will be a struggle to maintain our freebies. And yet still the magic money tree is shaken for ever more superfluous projects – such as the Great Tapestry of Scotland building in Galashiels.
The deeper Scotland gets into debt the more we seem to spend on extras while vital services are cut.
Writing in The Times on December 21, Alistair Moffat, a “co-chairman” of the tapestry project, states that viewers of this nationalist artwork are “often moved to tears”. Taxpayers will be so moved when the final itemised bill is presented to them.
Thanks to the local press we know Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has already spent £520,000 on this nationalist project, will cough up another £3.5m and maybe more, while Holyrood will spend £2.5m. Total cost will be over £7m.
To be fair, the project is expected to return £50,000 a year which means the tapestry building will be paid back in 140 years. But as SBC’s Rob Dickson warned, “failure to meet visitor targets or manage costs will require ongoing subsidy”.