“Currently, we expend about 10 calories of fossil fuel to generate one calorie of food. This is unsustainable not just in a small way but to quite an alarming extent.” Scientist Ian Boyd sees hope in vertical farming but can Scotland retain its lead in this pioneering technology by scaling it up to “an industrial reality”?
Given that farm support has historically been a major influence on UK land prices, how will Brexit impact the value of farmland? Deb Roberts examines the evidence.
‘But whatever measure or comparison used, it is clear that the challenge to boost Scotland’s long-term rate of productivity shows no sign of disappearing. Back in 2007, the Scottish Government set a target to “rank in the top quartile for productivity amongst our key trading partners in the OECD by 2017”. It is clear that this target will be missed’.
‘Whilst there is clearly a negotiating advantage in the government holding back some monies as part of their tactics to get the Budget Bill through, one can see MSPs from now on assuming that £100 million is a useful ballpark for the amount the government may have ready to hand to push through a deal’.
‘On balance, the SFC’s GDP forecasts are not out of kilter with the recent past. And the SFC assumes that there will be no ‘bounce-back’ in Scottish growth to recapture weak growth relative to the UK over the past 2.5 years’.
In 2015 Professor Richard Freeman from the Academy of Government at Edinburgh Uni convened a group to discuss inequality. In 2017, after much further debate, all 22 participants contributed to a Postcards from Scotland book called Working for Equality: Policy, politics, people edited by Richard Freeman, Fiona McHardy and Danny Murphy. In the first of three extracts Philip Cooke reflects on the vital role of respect.
‘While the Scottish government is introducing more progressive taxes, the US is in the process of passing a controversial bill which cuts tax bigly for the rich’. Jackie Kemp, now based in Boston, Mass., saees merits in both systems…
‘It remains to be seen whether or not the UK government will invest in the future of the Highlands to the level the EU has done. If it doesn’t, it seems likely that many will leave in search of opportunities elsewhere – a scenario with a long and regrettable history in the Highlands.’
“It’s not an English problem any more than it’s a Scottish one, it’s a problem for us all.” Alan Milburn’s research report The Elite of Scotland revealed some uncomfortable facts of life in a nation that prides itself on fairness.
‘Under the Scottish Government’s proposed income tax policy, everyone earning under £33k will pay less tax in 2018/19 than they did this year (2017/18). BUT part of this is due to the increase in Personal Allowance, which would have happened anyway, i.e. irrespective of any announcement made by Mr Mackay today.’