The union

The rise of the Nationalist deficit conspiracy

On the face of it, the numbers are damning. The Scottish government has released the latest annual edition of Scotland’s public finances. It does not paint a pretty picture. Scotland’s notional deficit has more than doubled from £15.8 billion to £36.3 billion, taking the nation’s fiscal shortfall from 8.8 per cent of GDP to 22.4 per cent. This figure factors in a geographical share of North Sea oil revenue and compares to a UK deficit of 14.2 per cent. That is not only the largest deficit of the devolved era but more than double that seen in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2009/10. If anything, GERS puts