By a Newsnet reporter
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has been accused of fiddling figures in order to present Scots as a nation of subsidy junkies who need state handouts.
The SNP have demanded the Tory MSP apologise and withdraw her claims that only 12% of Scots contribute to the economy after official figures called into question her allegations.
According to the nationalists, the numbers have been manipulated in order to maximise the expenditure in Scotland, whilst minimizing the revenue generated.
In the figures presented by the Scottish Conservative party, Ruth Davidson has:
- included groups who would not reasonably be expected to be ‘net contributors’ at that stage in their lives – such as pensioners and students.
- included non-identifiable public expenditure – such as Defence – which have questionable benefit for individual households.
- not included non-identifiable public revenue – including Corporation Tax, Business Rates and North Sea Oil revenue, greatly underestimating the revenue generated in Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:
“Ruth Davidson has made a pretty bold and eye-catching allegation which, unsurprisingly, has turned out to be complete bunkum.
“She appears to have counted all of the expenditure, but ignored most of the revenue – including corporation tax, business rates and North Sea oil revenues.
“So with a stroke of the pen, Ms Davidson has erased all of the wealth that Scots generate when they go out to work in the morning!
“These claims from the Tory leader suggest that she is either completely incompetent, or that she deliberately set out to fiddle every figure and talk Scotland’s economy down.”
The Scottish Tory leader has also come under fire after claiming that people were “practically paying with their lives” for the policy of free prescriptions.
The claim brought an angry rebuke from the SNP, who said the Scottish Tory leader should be ashamed of herself.
SNP MSP Mark McDonald – a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee – said:
“Ruth Davidson should be ashamed of herself for her tasteless and inaccurate comments about the abolition of prescription fees – she has not a shred of evidence to support her claim, and should withdraw it immediately.
“Prescription charges are not a tax on the rich – they are a tax on the sick. Before the SNP abolished them, there were 600,000 people on incomes as low as £16,000 a year forced to pay prescription charges, many of whom we know would avoid collecting prescriptions precisely because of the cost.”
A tweet from the Scottish Tories earlier in the afternoon welcomed the recent attack on universal benefits from Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.
According to the tweet, Ms Davidson said: “I welcome Johann Lamont’s late arrival onto the ground we’re already occupying.”
Mr McDonald added: “The fact that Ruth Davidson is backing Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission to the hilt should be a matter of deep concern to everyone in Scotland – it is another illustration of why Scotland needs the powers of an independent Parliament, so that we can make our own choices instead of being on the receiving end of Tory/Labour Westminster-imposed cuts.”