GERS and fake news, inadequate facts…

“All told, we need much more interest shown by the public on demanding detail about how the government spends our money, and then, most likely, demanding change.” Still true now – a look back at this August 29016 warts-and-all analysis to remind us of the fundamentals.

GERS then and now

“It has never been claimed that GERS shows exactly what the public finances of an independent Scotland would look like.  We’ve only ever said this report, produced by the Scottish Government, shows where we are now – so you tell us what changes to improve that position.”

More powers yes, higher taxes no

“Scots are only slightly more egalitarian than people in England, while support for redistribution has declined across the UK. People will pay for specific services, notably health, but are not keen on redistribution. They want more powers for Scotland but are less keen on different policies or taxes.”

What’s holding them back?

“Holyrood is an incredibly powerful Parliament with the ability to make a real positive difference to the lives of people in Scotland. Sadly, it is not in the interests of those who value independence above all else to use these powers to their full effect. The powers they need must always be those they don’t have. It is the only way their constitutional obsession can be achieved.”

Scotland’s productivity performance: try harder

“This blog examines the recent trend in productivity in Scotland, and we unpick the numbers (3.5% rise in 2015) to see if they are as positive as would initially appear.” “..if policymakers are hoping that the recent statistics herald a new found surge in productivity in the Scottish economy then they are set to be disappointed”.

Unanswered questions of Scotland’s economy

Derek Mackay’s first budget as finance secretary is assailed from all sides – even his own. Scottish Conservatives label Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK; Labour’s Kezia Dugdale endorses higher Scottish taxes as part of a federal-style devolution of revenue-raising powers. Leading economist David Eiser pondered deeper economic issues.

Baby boxes, universalism and higher taxes

“If it is baby boxes for all as a sign of our equality, let it be free fuel for all, free transport for all, citizen’s income for all, free school meals, shoes and coats for all. If the aim is the best start in life for all of Jock Tamson’s bairns, then why not? What would stop us?”