Letter: Cost of NHS achievements

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Sir,

In his letter published August 18, Reverend Crossan claims the NHS in Scotland is outperforming that in England and Wales.

I shall make the assumption he is now checking his figures and data more diligently so I won’t dispute the accident and emergency numbers he claims but I have to ask at what price this performance is achieved.

The GERS figures published last week show Scotland still has a deficit of £13.3 billion or 8.3 per cent of GDP, more than three times the figure for the rest of the UK, this despite the ‘Union Dividend’ of £1749 per head in Scotland.

This cannot be blamed on the Treasury as Scotland contributes eight per cent of UK taxes but receives back 9.2 per cent in spending.

The deficit is higher than any country in the EU, where a condition of a membership application is the national deficit has to be below three per cent of GDP, so forget all ambitions to join that club.

One continues to read about austerity as if this is a punishment imposed by a malevolent government in Westminster but in fact, it implies living within one’s means.

That is, not spending more money than is brought in by taxation and the government at Holyrood continues to borrow in order to finance such as the NHS.

This cannot continue indefinitely and a future Scottish government will have to rectify this mess.

By then the SNP will be but a distant memory with only a scruffy caravan and a few stalwarts on Calton Hill to show they ever existed.

Brian Gee

Lefkara,

Carradale East.

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