Scotland’s deficit falls to £13.3bn – 8.3% of GDP

Scotland’s notional deficit fell by £1.3 billion to £13.3 billion in 2016-17 to stand at 8.3% of GDP — about triple the UK figure of 2.4%.

The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures show onshore revenues increased by £3.3 billion (6.1%) between 2015-16 and 2016-17 – the fastest increase since current records began in 1998-99.

Including an “illustrative geographic share” of North Sea revenue, Scottish public sector revenue was estimated as £58 billion — 8% of UK revenue.

Of this, £208 million was North Sea revenue.

Including the geographical share of North Sea revenue, Scotland’s public sector revenue was equivalent to £10,722 per person, £312 less than the UK average.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “These figures reflect Scotland’s finances under current constitutional arrangements …

“The lower oil price had an impact on North Sea revenues and the wider economy last year.

“However, it is encouraging to see an improvement in the overall fiscal balance and that onshore revenues grew at their fastest rate in nearly twenty years.

“However, our long-term economic success is now threatened by Brexit, which risks reducing household incomes, employment and funding for public services.

“That is why we continue to press for the Scottish Government to have a direct role in Brexit negotiations.”

The UK Government’s Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “These figures from the Scottish Government are a cause for concern, and show clearly there is still much to be done to improve Scotland’s economy.

“They also highlight the value of pooling and sharing resources around the UK.

“Being part of a strong UK has protected our living standards, and that’s one reason the people of Scotland clearly rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for a second independence referendum at the election.

“Scotland’s deficit is falling at a slower rate than the UK as a whole and economic growth is lagging behind.

“It is vital we grow the economy and we want to work with the Scottish Government to achieve that.

“We will continue to invest in Scotland, with new initiatives such as UK City Deals, which have already seen around £1 billon of UK Government money committed to Scotland.

“I would also urge the Scottish Government to use their significant economic levers – including on tax, skills and getting people into work – to improve Scotland’s economic future.”