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England subsidises Scottish public spending, think-tank director tells BBC listeners – Towards Indyref2…

England subsidises Scottish public spending, think-tank director tells BBC listeners

Scottish public spending is subsidised by English taxpayers, the director of a London based think-tank has claimed.

Presenting a programme on BBC Radio 4, Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, claimed Scotland could only afford services like free personal care for the elderly because of England.

Responsing to an explanation of Scotland’s system by Dr Philippa Whitford MP, he said: “Of course Scotland has the advantage that its current public spending is partly subsidised by England.”


The remarks were initially broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on July 24th in a programme presented by Johnson.  The programme, which discussed social care across the UK, was repeated on July 29th.

Claims that Scotland is subsidised by England has been a central theme of anti-independence argument for decades.  It was one of the key planks of the pro-Union Better Together campaign during the 2014 independence referendum.

That it has been repeated by a director of one of the UK’s most respected research bodies calls into question the constitutional neutrality of that body.

It also casts doubt on the political impartiality of Johnson and his suitability as a commentator on Scottish economic issues.

The IFS director was a regular contributor to BBC news and current affairs during the 2014 Indyref.  Seven days before the independence referendum, Johnson claimed a Yes vote was a threat to the Scottish NHS.  The claim featured across BBC platforms that day and led the news that evening.

Questions are sure to be raised as to why someone with very clear anti-independence views was allowed to broadcast them on a BBC programme he himself was hosting without fear of challenge.

Paul Johnson was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), for services to the social sciences and economics, in the Queen’s birthday honours list last month.

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24 thoughts on “England subsidises Scottish public spending, think-tank director tells BBC listeners

  1. Jason Smoothpiece

    Yes the English must be fed up subsidising Scotland.

    Here is an idea, promote Scottish Independence then the English folk would save a great deal of money.

    This policy is a runner what do you say England?

      1. Ann Rayner

        Great idea, especially as many people in England are blaming Scots for damaging their Brexit.

  2. Robert Graham

    Thats why Cameron mounted the biggest propaganda exercise ever seen in peacetime in this country ,This mammoth effort that saw every ambassador in every embassy all over the world contacting the government of that country to support his effort to get Scots to vote NO ,

    Was this the action of someone trying to hold on to a part of the country that was leaking English taxpayers money and a real drain on England’s purse .

    It wasnt love or genuine affection it was panic because the Tory government knew the truth and they faced bloody armageddon if we left the union, remember the weeks of propaganda 24/7 NO vote promotions masquerading as News bulletins , the VOW although bordering on being illegal because of Purda fooled enough into voting NO deception from start to finish .

  3. Dennis Garden

    If you think that Mr LIAR why don’t you lot tell Scotland to get out of the UK. Then we will see who has been Subsidising who.Go on tell us to leave have the guts to tell us to go.

  4. bjsalba

    From their website.

    Limited by guarantee
    Registered in England: 954616
    Registered charity: 258815

    A charity not (as far as I can see registered in Scotland.

    1. Robert Graham

      Agreed this mushrooming of these think tanks usually have one thing in common a right wing view of everything and anything ,they all seem to support money and real vested interests that protect a minority of society and of course the union is never far away .

      Who actually bankrolls and funds these organisations ? . secrecy is never a good sign .

      Just another way the BBC in Scotland use to influence people here using our money .

  5. Dave Batchelor

    Explain clearly to me why Johnson is wrong and why we’re not indebted to England. I want to be able to use the arguments when challenged by the top poor too weak… etc.

  6. Brian McGowan

    Looking at who is funding any specific “Think Tank” is always revealing I think.
    The Institute For Fiscal Studies :

    “The largest proportion of the IFS’ income comes from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)” – source Wikipedia.

    The ESRC :
    “It receives most of its funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,” – source Wikipedia.

    ie It is funded by WM govt.

  7. Ian Adams

    The directo of the respected research body has turned a blind eye to the fact that Westminster’s expenditure far exceeds their income from HMRC etc hence the £2 trillion + national debt and therefore they themselves are being ” subsidised ” by the World Financial systems and are therefore, being broke ,are not in a position to subsidise Scotland.

  8. Robert Peffers

    This person must know that his claim that Scotland gets a higher per capita funding is complete and utter claptrap. If he doesn’t he sure as hell should be immediately removed from his present post. Now I’m in no way an expert on economic matters but I know that in the first place the highest per capita funded United Kingdom devolved country, (outside of London that is), is Northern Ireland, followed by Scotland and then Wales

    England, though, does not get funded as England but directly as the United Kingdom and not by a block grant but directly by the Westminster Ministries. I also know the reason the three devolved nations have different levels of funding is because they have different devolved functions and that Westminster in devolving powers from Westminster Ministries to the devolved administration have to also remove from the Westminster Ministries the funds they previously spent in N.I, Scotland & Wales and, “devolve”, that funding to the devolved administrations. For these had no tax raising powers so how does the idiot think they could run the devolved functions without funding?

    Now to get down to his other, frankly idiotic, claim that English taxpayers are subsidising Scotland. Everyone in the United Kingdom, (until the recent Scottish tax raising powers), paid their taxes on the same tax rates and bands. Ergo his claim of it being, “English Tax Money is totally idiotic – it is United Kingdom Tax payer’s money not exclusively English.

    Furthermore the Scottish per capita GDP is usually higher than the per capita GDP of England, or indeed the UK as a whole. In which case it is the Scots who subsidise not only England but the UK as a whole.

    This man is an absolute moron and has to be removed from any position other than perhaps cleaning the House of Commons toilets. He seems well versed in talking pish.

    (Yet they wonder why Scots want to end the United Kingdom. Which is another of their idiotic claims – The United Kingdom is NOT a country as its name makes clear it is a two partner kingdom. There are no Irish or Welsh signatories to the Treaty of Union and thus when one partner in a bipartite union decides the union has ended the United Kingdom has ceased to exist, (and with idiots like this moron making idiotic claims I can only say it will be Good riddance).

  9. William Macdonald

    Scotland pays nearly 60bn into westminster excluding north sea revenues, gets 29bn back through Barnett. Subsidised no, net contributor unless you listen to billionaire owners of msm. these are government figures and real contribution is actually 2012bn and still only get 29bn back. Subsidised WTF

    1. Bill Macdonald

      I often hear this figure, or similar, touted as absolute fact! I just wish someone could point to definitive and verifiable proof that it is indeed the case. I don’t mean the often repeated oil is hidden our whisky goes from English ports etc as this is on the whole unquantifiable and unprovable.
      I really do want to be able to argue this often used attack with verifiable facts instead of the usual cries of lies, we are a rich Country, we pay more than we get etc.
      Being unable to counter this with open and easily shown official figures makes it a very difficult one to prove.
      Someone please educate me with facts I can use to shut this claim down.

  10. Me Bungo Pony

    England runs a deficit running into tens of billions of £. How can a country that has no money “subsidise” another?

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