Moore left red-faced as Scotland Office lets slip Scotland would be better off independent

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By a Newsnet reporter with acknowledgement to Stephen Noon

Scotland would have been almost £20 billion better off had it been independent for the last thirty years, figures released by the Scotland Office have revealed.

A press release from Secretary of State Michael Moore claimed that an independent Scotland would have been £41 billion in the red.  However official figures from the Scotland Office have left the gaffe prone MP red faced after it emerged that Scotland’s debt from being part of the Union is greater, running at £60 billion.

The gaffe was picked up by online blogger Stephen Noon who compared Mr Moore’s figures with the official Scotland Office report that details Scotland’s budgetary position within the UK over the past 30 years.

According to Mr Noon, Mr Moore released a press statement headlined: ‘Scottish Government must explain £41 billion oil deficit’ that claimed that over the past 30 years total spending in Scotland (including a share of ‘UK services’ like defence and foreign relations) has been £41 billion higher than the country’s total revenues, including oil and gas revenues.

This, claimed Michael Moore, was ‘proof’ that Scotland cannot afford independence.  However when looking at the equivalent UK figures, the total UK deficit is £715.5 billion – and Scotland’s population share of this is an estimated £60 billion – £19 billion more than the independence debt.

Mr Noon says: “Put it another way, the UK has burdened each and every Scot with additional debt equivalent to £3,800.”

Mr Noon adds: “[Michael Moore] has told us just how much Scotland has actually contributed to the UK national debt over the last 30 years, we can now work out what our share of that debt will be, and it isn’t the £60 billion from our population share.

“Instead, Mr Moore has helpfully lopped £19 billion off the figure that an independent Scotland will inherit.  That means, on independence, Scotland will have lower national debt and lower annual debt repayments than if we remain part of the UK. “

The blunder will heap pressure on the gaffe prone MP who only this week appeared to insult smaller nations who participated in the protection of Libyan civilians in the nation’s uprising against Gaddafi.

Moore implied that independent ‘small countries’ have no influence on the world stage and were unable to offer any help to the Libyans.  However official figures from Nato have confirmed that many smaller nations played a significant part in the operations that led to the removal of the Libyan dictator.