By Martin Kelly
Controversial London Mayor Boris Johnson has claimed that London “exports” its taxes to Scotland and that there is not a “cat’s chance in Hades” that Scots will vote for independence.
Speaking on Channel 4 news, the Conservative politician also said that Edinburgh’s financial sector is reliant on London for its existence.
Mr Johnson was being interviewed on the day that the London Olympics officially began. The Games’ ceremony was beamed world-wide and the city mayor was answering questions on the benefits to London and the wider economy.
Mr Johnson claimed that the London Olympics would leave “massive long term legacy benefits” for the country.
Claiming that London was the “motor of the UK economy” the Tory Mayor said the rest of the UK benefitted from London’s financial sector, and added: “The financial services in Edinburgh exists because of London”.
Asked by the presenter about First Minister Alex Salmond wishing Scottish Olympians well, Mr Johnston said: “Well, I didn’t hear him say that, but obviously – does he really want to cut himself off from the tax income that London exports to Scotland?”
The controversial Tory politician added: “It’s been like that for a long time, but if you ask me to bet whether the Scots will ever vote to pull apart … I think it’s a cat’s chance in Hades”.
Mr Johnson’s comments follow similar claims made by the senior Conservative politician who in April this year said that Scotland was better served when Treasury cash was invested in London.
Speaking to the Huffington Post, he said: “I’m making the argument to the Treasury that a pound spent in Croydon is far more of value to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde. You will generate jobs in Strathclyde far more effectively if you invest in parts of London.”
Recent media claims that the London Games will benefit Scotland to the tune of one billion pounds are viewed by most analysts as wildly over-optimistic.
Earlier claims that Scottish businesses would reap rewards from Games’ contracts were proved inaccurate after it emerged that Scottish based firms had received only 0.5% of the total Olympics contracts.
English based companies have been able to create hundreds of construction jobs through 98% of the contracts – amounting to some £5billion in funds.