Ukip is promising to slash billions of pounds of public spending in Scotland as it says the country must take the “rough with the smooth” as part of devolution-max proposals.
Speaking at an Institute of Economic Affairs fringe event at the party’s annual conference In Doncaster today, Ukip economics spokesman and MEP Patrick O’Flynn said Ukip would equalise spending between the nations.
Last week Scotland voted against independence but all three Westminster parties are committed to much greater devolution of powers on tax, spending and welfare.
All parties are also committed to continue the so-called Barnett formula which allocates public funds to the four nations of the UK.
In Scotland public spending per head is more than £10,000, almost 20 per cent higher than the English level of £8,500.
In Wales public spending is also a similar level to Scotland at £9,700, nearly 14 per cent higher than England.
Any changes could impact on unique Scottish spending decisions such as the stamp duty regime, free prescriptions or free university tuition fees for Scottish citizens.
O’Flynn said Ukip would end the Barnett formula and bring all spending to £8,500 in order to reduce the deficit.
He said: “If we had a surplus then maybe we could raise public spending to the level of Scotland but that is very far from the position we are in.
“Equalisation is mainly in that downward level so that means reducing public spending that goes on Scotland. It seems to me that you can’t have an entirely unionist mindset in a devo-max world. If Scotland is taking a stride to independence and autonomy in so many different areas then the idea that English taxpayers are disadvantaged doesn’t wash anymore.
“People, or Scottish nationalists, say that Scotland contributes more tax to the total from oil or whatever. Well, would the Scottish banking sector have survived without the strength of the union a few years ago?
“Enormous sums were put up by English taxpayers so they have to take the rough with the smooth. We are talking about a significant public spending reduction in Scotland.”