‘ I would advise any Scottish government to aim broadly to balance the budget. At present, without support from Westminster, Scotland would be running a large deficit. If the proponents of independence want to increase their economic credibility, now is the time to start setting out how that deficit could be closed’.
‘The Index goes beyond a simple measure of GDP growth in trying to determine relative changes in well-being across similarly developed countries. Indeed, given the tenuous link between government policy and short term economic growth, the Index is better suited to identifying areas which government can influence in order to improve the economic fundamentals’.
The upcoming budget debate is an important opportunity for policymakers from all sides to set out what they would do, yes on taxation, but also on expenditure and growth. The new income tax powers provide some measure of relief, but it’s far from the only game in town’.
‘And while England’s Brexiteers prepare to sign a blank cheque to gain their version of independence at any price, what are the chances of Scotland gaining control over its own post-Brexit destiny?’
One in eight secondary school-age pupils in Glasgow provides care for someone at home. Not only do these pupils care for someone with a disability, long-term illness, mental health or substance issue, they also have poorer outcomes for their own health and future expectations.
The Programme for Government is full of detailed initiatives to support and encourage everything from manufacturing in the West Highlands to tourism in Ayrshire. Mostly it is a description of what is already being done, but where’s the evidence for what works, asks a former government adviser.
‘…if Scotland is excluded from key European programmes then funding streams will dry up which are crucial to the delivery of Scotland’s policy ambitions’. An ex-adviser on EU to the First Minister examines her Programme for Government.
‘Of course, it is possible to close this (budget) gap by explicitly reducing certain expenditures or by assuming higher tax revenues – either through increased rates or faster growth. Others will argue though, that in the context of independence, there may be additional costs. The debates will no doubt continue.’ And indeed they do…
‘…he seems to believe that GERS are unrealiable simply because the results sound ‘improbable’ to him and ‘the last thing they should do is trust that from London’. With a belief in his own infallible ‘intuition’, he then goes looking for reasons to confirm it’.
‘..it is time for governments to stop wasting time and money on technologies like CCS that aren’t working. They need to finally get serious about leading a major drive for energy efficiency instead’.