‘The comment by the Scottish Finance Secretary at the time of publication that “Scotland’s economy and public finances are strong” seems fanciful given any reasonable analysis of recent low economic growth figures and a still high, by international standards, fiscal deficit.’
‘Much more could be done by government to defend these statistics and proactively clear-up misunderstandings.’
‘The Parliament has been curiously conservative with little appetite across the political parties for bold reform, especially in addressing many of the wicked problems that continue to scar Scotland.’
‘Westminster is also extending its reach to some detailed local policies that are clearly devolved and local. It is not clear, for example, why UK ministers should have a say in the decision about a new concert hall in Edinburgh…’
‘If Scotland is to meet the challenges of the next decade and beyond – and take advantage of the undoubted opportunities that will arise – it is likely to require a much bolder economic policy agenda’
‘How the Scottish government plans to fund the £180 million policy remains to be seen. But after years of cuts to UK social security, it is a pleasant change to see significant new efforts to reduce child poverty’.
MSPs on finance committee debate the Scottish Budget: ‘Coming in the midst of the parliament’s 20th anniversary celebrations, this was not a good advert for parliamentary effectiveness in holding the government to account’.
‘But what can be said with certainty, if these forecasts are correct, is that the amount of money that the government had planned to have at their disposal – all other factors remaining equal – will be much smaller’.
‘All in all, great care needs to be applied when making judgments comparing national productivity levels. As a result, choosing a shift in international rankings as a government policy target is probably unwise.’
‘Underlying (onshore) economic and fiscal fundamentals are little different now to at the time of the first referendum. Economic debate around any second referendum is therefore likely to concentrate on: productivity growth prospects; how to narrow Scotland’s fiscal deficit; and how to improve the Current Account.’