Scots get £1,624 more public money than English

Published by Nathalie Bonney on 30 August 2011.
Last updated on 30 August 2011

Scottish flag with coins

The government is spending more on Scottish individuals than their English counterparts but still expects English taxpayers to subsidise this difference, Treasury figures reveal.

Last year the government spent £8,588 of public money on the average English person, compared to an average figure of £10,212 for the average Scot.

This is a 15% increase on the previous year and it is expected to increase further in the future.

As well as English families benefiting from less government expenditure, English families also pay approximately £420 extra a year subsidising the difference.

Scottish families benefit from no prescription fees, free eye tests, free bus travel for over-sixties and no annual tuition fees for students.

Widening gap

Conservative MPs have criticised the widening gap at a time when public funding cuts are widespread.

Gordon Henderson, representing Sittingbourne & Sheppey, says: "It is simply wrong that English taxpayers are being asked to help subsidise people living in Scotland for a range of services not available in England."

How to pay less tax: The basic-rate taxpayer

David Mowat, representing Warrington South, says the Scottish government is right to set its own agenda, such as offering free prescriptions but disagrees that the UK government should cover this with an extra £1,624.

"This is quite wrong and will rightly cause indignation in England. Many MPs are having to defend deeply unpopular cuts. We do so on the basis that there is no alternative and that the deficit must be brought down.

"This argument looks a bit limp when the coalition is able to fritter away billions of pounds to appease vested interests north of the border," he adds.

The reason for the gap is due to a complicated method, entitled the Barnett formula, which calculated how public spending should be divided between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

By using this formula, Scotland currently receives 10% of government money allocated for public purposes, even though only 8% of the UK population lives north of the border.

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