29-04-2007 PROS & CONS 15 - What has the Union achieved?

When it comes to the Union of 1707 between Scotland and England, we must ask ourselves what has really be achieved or what has really been beneficial to Scotland since that date. 

  In the last 300 years, have things really changed for the better? Although it is difficult to get your hands on old documents, it would be good to know exactly what went on all these years ago. Most things that are looked at are based on the way they stand today.

   What do we know of the past?

Since the Union began the treasury of the " United Kingdom ” has always been at Westminster in London , Why?

Why not have the treasury in Edinburgh , Cardiff or Belfast ?

  The reality of the situation, is that London  and the surrounding area want to be in control, a greed for the power of money, which once collected is unfairly distributed not just among Scotland , Ireland and Wales , but parts of England as well. The latest being a 26% increase to annual salaries for those who have a full-time job in London's financial centre while the rest of the country have to do with 4.5%. Instances of projects such as the conveniently forgotten; Millennium Dome, The London Underground, The Millennium Bridge, M25 and the new Wembley Stadium. These all over funded by taxpayer's contributions from the four Countries within the United Kingdom . Most of the taxpayers outside London will never see any benefit from this huge over spend. The next big project to hit the taxpayer from the three other countries out side of  England is the Olympic Games in London . An overall figure of at least £9.3 Billion is expected to hold the event, with approx £6 Billion paid for by the government/ taxpayer. The question ‘who is going to benefit from the event', with the games being held in London ?

What about the rise of the property market in London , why should this be able to have an effect on neighbouring countries? 

   Has the London economy been able to change or affect Scotland ? The answer must be “yes” The economic growth of property in Scotland is up, but can Nationals actually afford to buy property in today's climate? The answer is “no”. The average house price far out weighs the average wage, if the circumstances don't change it is possible that Scotland will see similar emigration to that in the Highland Clearances of the 1800's, or vast increasing debt problem. In fact latest figures show a record number of Scots left homeless by mortgage debt is at a 13 year high. Soaring house prices have forced buyers to sign up to increasingly large loans. Householders in Scotland have the highest average of mortgage borrowing in relation to salary. With property price as they are in Scotland the average being £165.000 who is buying property at this price when Scotland 's average wage is £25,000? To buy and sell a house in Scotland is mostly no real benefit. What profit is made from a house sale soon gets used when buying a new house. The selling price is usually ridiculously well over the asking price.

   Perhaps if Scotland were to control her own economy this situation may never have arisen.

  The four countries within the Union (supposedly equal partners), why was the likes of the Poll Tax implemented in Scotland a year before the rest?

The Union does seem unfair in respect to taxation.

   Immediately after the nobles of Scotland had signed away her rights by way of the Union in 1707, an immediate rise in Malt Tax was administered. At this point, there was a call for a reversal to the Union agreement. The now elected parliament, now residing in Westminster would not agree. It was noted that Scotland  and Ireland in particular were useful for amounting revenues through the collection of taxes. Taxes and rents were collected via landlords who were either English or had an allegiance with the British establishment. As we know, those who could not afford to pay the taxes or rents were removed from the land, by force if necessary to make way for the likes of sheep etc. Rents and Taxes were often raised on purpose for this matter.

   With these circumstances in mind, we can see by studying history there were neither the same amount of uprisings or clearances of people in England as there were in the Celtic Nations after 1707. Thus we can deduce the level of resentment and ill-treatment was higher in Scotland , Ireland and Wales  than it was in England . Once again, the question has to be raised as to ‘why'? Particularly as we all became part of the same Union .

  It has been suggested that Scotland could not survive without being part of the Union . As a small project to find the truth of the matter, I decided to investigate just how much taxes were actually being sent to the Treasury at Westminster from Scotland . By Law, there should be a reply within 30 days of any enquiry. I first began with my enquiry to the Scottish Office, I was surprised to learn this department was situated in Wales . They in turn passed me to the Treasury at Westminster . I asked the question as part of the project, “How much revenue in taxes were sent from Scotland to the treasury” I still have no answer to my question and it is now months later. The conclusion I came to was that they did not want me to know. I then sourced some Scottish companies myself to see what kind of revue they generated. I wanted to see if Scotland was in such a state as has been suggested. I was quite surprised at my findings.

  Highland Spring Water 2005 profits were £3.2 million exporting to 50 different countries.

  Iron Bru Purchased Strathmore in 2006 water for £15 million boosting turnover to a mere £72 million for the half year, profits of £9.4 million

  B.P [British Petroleum] tax revenues from the North Sea amounted to approximately £1 million a month.

  Shell Petroleum much the same as B.P £1 million a month

  Speyside Malt distillers Chivas Regal  brands include Chivas Regal, Ballintines, Clan Campbell and Beefeater Gin. 2007 sales for the half year were £ 2.3 billion

 Royal Bank of Scotland 2007 £9 Billion profit

 HBOS £5.7 Billion

 Highland Distillers, brands include The Famous Grouse and MacAllan 2007 Pre Tax profits of approx £2 Billion

 Arnold Clark biggest private car/van sales company 2006 saw profits in the first half of the year of £981.9 Million

Oil Revenues estimated to be still remaining in the North Sea £391 Billion

 Tourism 2006 Visit Scotland estimated that 2.39 million visitors came to Scotland spending £1.2 Billion

 Scottish Power 2006 Pre Tax profits £5.4 Billion

Scottish Widows Year ending 31st December saw profit after tax of £355.5 Million

Scottish and Newcastle pre tax profits December 31st 2006 £452 Million

Scottish Salmon Producers 2006 £253 Million, with other indirect businesses to the Salmon Industry in the Highlands and Island profiting approx £3 Million.

RMJM Architects in Edinburgh Profits 2006 £3.1 Million

MacTaggarts and Mikel House Builders 2006 profits £14.3 Million

CCG Roofing 2006 profits £6.6 Million

Ogilvie Construction 2006 profits £7.1 Million

Robertson Group Builders 2006 profits £11.3 Million

Stewart Milne Construction Turn over for 2006 in access of £150 Million

Barratt Home Builder 2006 pre-tax profit £180.2 Million

The list of Scottish business sector that pay top dividends in tax to the treasury could go on and on indefinitely. This is only the tip of the iceberg but as you can see by the examples above, there is a lot of money being made in Scotland and it is staggering to see how much tax would end up going to Westminster . These figures are not fictitious or made up; you will be able to or should be able to see any company's figures somewhere on their websites. 

   The question remains, “why is there so much rumour or scare mongering to say that Scotland could not be self sufficient?”

  I can only see that the Treasury are hiding the true facts regarding the revenues that are obtained from Scotland . This might possibly be because; Firstly, they don't want to admit that they do rely heavily on the income form north of the border. Secondly they may be afraid that they might lose the revenues should the true statistics become public knowledge and a public reprisal is made by the people of Scotland .

I have approached the Union between Scotland and England with an open mind, trying to base my findings on fact rather than fiction. Whether or not people would agree with me, I find that benefits to England  in the Union far out weigh to those of Scotland , particularly to population per head.

  More facts and questions:

      Scotland being the far smaller country in both land mass and population why are approximately half of the sites earmarked for dumping nuclear waste in Scotland ?

   Scotland has been used as a dumping ground before for the disposal of World War I and II ammunition, some of which resurfaces on certain beaches from time to time. Where in England  are there such armaments dumps?

  Scotland  was also used for the testing of Anthrax; this took place on the Island of Gruinard  off the west coast of Scotland .

Where in England did such testing ever take place?

    After much research, I have found it very difficult to find something that England has given Scotland without some sort of self-gain. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I would be pleased to include these as fact, providing there is actual relevant evidence to support the claim.

  This article is written with an open mind in an effort to come to a conclusion as to whether  Scotland being part of a Union with England , Wales and Ireland is in fact beneficial. 

   I also find it remarkable that the Union between the four countries is a lot harder to get out of, than it was to get into, even if a majority of people in  Scotland did not want it. Why should this be so?

  It leads one to believe that any decisions regarding the marriage or divorce of the Union would not be done democratically, the way politics are supposed to be, but implemented by those who have the power to so, just as it was in 1707.

Is this Union really a fair deal for Scotland ?


Written by James Fraser Singer


Back to Top

© Crann Tara 2006