Numbers game

IT escapes me why Keith Walters, a councillor for a small local authority in England, should concern himself with Scottish politics (Walter s World, August 16). Wouldn t he be far better employed spending his time trying to make Cambridgeshire County Cou

IT escapes me why Keith Walters, a councillor for a small local authority in England, should concern himself with Scottish politics (Walter's World, August 16). Wouldn't he be far better employed spending his time trying to make Cambridgeshire County Council more efficient, so that it is not subsidised so much by Council tTxpayers from Huntingdonshire.

But if he is going to comment on national issues he should at least get his facts right. Picking up a few snippets of misinformation from the Tory research department and certain sections of the English press, which are anti-Scottish Parliament, and then regurgitating them as facts is simply not good enough.

Also, it is amazing how the contribution that oil from the Scottish North Sea sector makes to the UK's economic well-being is always glossed over.

In fact for 2006/07 Government North Sea receipts are forecast to be £12billion and, with current troubles in the world, oil prices and receipts are very unlikely to fall in the near future. And no analysis of the transfer of funds between Scotland and the rest of the UK can be considered valid without taking account of the receipts from the Scottish oil fields, which are paid into the UK Treasury.


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It is not good enough to pick up numbers from the Barnett Formula, which appears to be what Cllr Walters has done, and quote differences between the figures as subsidies/payments per head to different parts of the UK. The numbers in the Barnett Formula are arrived at by a very complex set of calculations and deliberations which are, and have been, considered by all governments past and present to be fair to all concerned.

It should also be noted that in an analysis by the UK Constitution Unit of the 20 years from 1982 to 2002 it was found that the UK ran up a deficit of £410bn, whereas Scotland, on the basis of keeping its oil receipts, was in surplus by over £24bn. Scotland is in no way subsidised by England.

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JAMES COLEMAN, Hartford Road, Huntingdon

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