The SNP have welcomed the Fraser of Allander Institute’s (FAI) rare decision to rubbish a UK Government press release which claimed the Scottish Government had received a £700m “bail-out” from the UK Government. Referring to these claims the FAI said: “Is this accurate? In a word, no.”

Claims by the Treasury that a so-called “£941 million income tax shortfall” was being offset by an increase in UK funding as part of a tax reconciliation. In actual fact, the new figure was not due to an increase in any funding but was in fact down to:

  • Better HMRC tax data.
  • Weaker rUK NOT Scottish income tax receipts compared to forecast.

The way the UK Government presented what was an over-estimate of Scotland’s tax base by HMRC was described as “puzzling” by the FAI. They also added: “So to argue that Scotland has been ‘bailed out’ to the tune of over £700m because of a slump in the Scottish economy is clearly wrong.”

Complexity of the fiscal framework was identified as a major challenge with a call for more straightforward and transparent reporting of the framework changes year to year, rather than a focus on “seeking to score political points at every turn”. If this is not done, is that confidence in the devolution settlement could be eroded.

Commenting, Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said: “The Tory Government have been caught red-handed twisting the truth to suit their own narrow divisive agenda. It is absolutely unprecedented for the Fraser of Allander Institute to directly refute the claims made in a UK Government press release like this.

”It highlights just how desperate the Tories are getting when it comes to Scotland. And no wonder, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to be anointed as Prime Minister. Ruth Davidson and her gang of Tories are rightly worried about the damage a Johnson led no-deal Brexit will do to support for the UK. Polls are already showing support for Independence increasing every day and that won’t be stopped by desperate Tory spin like this.”