Nicola Sturgeon Acknowledges Scotland's Economy Challenges, Said The Country Remains Fundamentally Strong After £15 Billion Deficit
Scottish First Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been under attack over Scotland's spending and tax revenue. After reported being "in denial" about the challenging economy of Scotland, she revealed her views on the situation, saying that she's "not denying that for a second".
During an interview with Andrew Neil's BBC, Ms Sturgeon acknowledged the challenging economic landscape of her country. "In the year that we had figures published for just this past week, we have had a very challenging and difficult set of figures. I am not denying that for a second," she said.
However, Mr. Sturgeon also emphasized the country's fiscal position beyond only last year's figures. "Over the past 10 years, our fiscal position has been broadly similar to the UK and in some of those years it has been significantly better," Ms Sturgeon noted. She then mentioned that the economy of Scotland is fundamentally strong, despite difficulties faced in the North Sea oil and gas sector.
The Courier reported that Scotland's deficit last year stood at £15 billion, twice the size of the UK's. The number is also the highest among the EU's advanced economies. Furthermore, the annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures concluded by the government economists showed that Scotland was in the red to the tune of 9.7 percent of its GDP compared to 4.9 percent for the UK as a whole.
The figures were calculated before the collapse in oil revenues in the North Sea where tax income fell from £1.8 billion in 2014-2015 to just £55 million in the first half of 2015-2016. Meanwhile, the spending in the country show figures of averagely £12,800 per person. The expenditure was £1,400 per person more than the UK average.
According to The Telegraph, the First Finance Minister believes that the deficit would have been manageable after separation. She did not specify how the separation would help managing the country's deficit, but she said it could be dealt with in the same way as the UK brought down its deficit after the financial crash. She also expressed her rejection over "ridiculous" warnings that a separate Scotland would be forced to accept an EU-imposed austerity package.
Many would argue that Ms Nicola Sturgeon is in denial and refuse to accept the fact that Scotland's economy is getting alarming, with huge deficit and no concrete plan to manage it. However, the First Prime Minister has announced that she acknowledged the challenge, but it would be manageable after separation, and that the country's economy remain strong amid challenges.