Sunday, March 09, 2008
The Cost Of Being English
The Sunday Times has a big piece on the cost of being English, rather than Scottish. It looks at the way that various public services in Scotland are free whereas in England they charge:
"The Scots, with £1,500 more to spend per person, are lavishing services on their 5m population. Free care (up to £210 a week) for the elderly, free eye tests, dental checks and, in future, free prescriptions. Yet in England, it was announced last week that the prescription charge will rise to £7.10.
In total the TaxPayers’ Alliance calculates that the “cost of being English” could amount to more than £7,000 a year – from £3,000 for university tuition fees to thousands more for care of the elderly, £25 for an eye test and £15 for each dental check-up."
The real sting of course is that it's English taxpayers who pay for much of the Scottish largesse.
We've looked at this issue many times. Last time we did the calcs (2006-07 see here) we reckoned Scotland was getting about £13bn pa as a fiscal transfer from South of the border, which was equivalent to 12% of its GDP. Even assuming the Scots are entitled to all of the North Sea tax revenue (a v moot point), they're still getting a fiscal gift from the English of around 5% of their GDP.
The redoubtable Frank Field told the Sunday Times:
“It’s a big issue, not just in my own constituency, but with people writing and e-mailing from all around the country. At some stage it will have to be faced.”
Field has previously introduced motions in the Commons to reform the Barnett formula and to prevent Scottish MPs voting on matters that are exclusively English. They were blocked by the government.
“What’s so interesting is that it’s just like the debate over the [marginalising of the] white working class . . . there’s a real reluctance to face the issues [in parliament] where they should be faced.”
Keep telling it like it is, Frank.
PS So did everyone see the BBC "White Season" doc on Powell's "Rivers of blood" speech? Field was on that too, not exactly saying "Enoch was right", but pleading for an open grown up discussion about the way successive lib prog commissars have handled mass immigration, and despairing over the hundreds of thousands of Brits now fleeing the country. My blood was certainly boiling by the time they flashed up a photo of the pompous Woy Jenkins - arguably our very worst post-War Home Secretary - quoting him as saying they hadn't expected multiculturalism to be the grim divisive force it's actually turned out to be. So WTF didn't they ask the rest of us before ploughing ahead regardless?