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Scotland Buried Deep in £15 Billion Debt

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Scotland last year recorded a deficit of £15 billion (AU$28.47 billion) which is twice the size of the UK’s as a whole, newly published figures revealed. The figures have also led to a sustained attack on Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and the leader of the Scottish National Party, for her support for independence.

According to David Cameron, the British prime minister, the figures showed that Scotland would have to face increased taxes on income, home, petrol and whiskey had they chose to leave UK, the Telegraph reported.

However, Sturgeon insisted that the economy of Scotland is going strong. She added that it is better to consider Scotland’s financial stand over the past decade than what it became over one year alone.

The statistics also showed that, Scotland tax revenue per head is less compared to UK for the first time in 35 years. Though the difference is very slight, the reversal gained importance as former SNP leader Alex Salmond resorted to Scotland’s historically higher tax receipts to support independence in the referendum campaign of 2014.

Sturgeon blamed Scotland’s reduced per head tax revenue on UK’s “mismanagement” of the North Sea and decrease in oil prices.

The figures by Scottish government showed that, its total income fell to £55 million (AU$104.53 million) in the first half of 2015-16 from £1.8 billion (AU$3.42 billion) in 2014-15.

The Opposition pointed out that the data showed how the Scottish ministers were supported by the Treasury. The data also revealed that the public spending was equal to 44.6 percent of Scottish GDP to 40.3 percent at UK level.

“These figures from the SNP government show once and for all the devastating impact leaving the UK would have had on Scotland’s finances,” the Guardian quoted Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, as saying. “People were misled by the SNP in the run-up to the referendum and that is unforgivable.”

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