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’.
‘The political landscape has been transformed by Brexit and Corbyn. New political cleavages, more complex than the simple Yes/No binary of the Indyref, have emerged. The terrain is now more challenging for the SNP. But if they are able to tack successfully into the new political winds, these challenges can be met’.
‘If many Scots retain a certain ambivalence towards the British monarchy, they have not rebelled against it nor do they have any plans to declare any unilateral declaration of independence’.
Justin Reynolds reflects on four fascinating and exhausting days at The World Transformed, the Momentum-organised festival that took place concurrently with the Labour Party conference in Brighton.
‘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?’
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.
The UK Government has published plans to maintain a border-free zone with Ireland once it has left the EU. Analysing the long-awaited paper, Professor Christina Boswell, finds it knocks out one of the main arguments for refusing Scotland more autonomy over its immigration policy
‘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’.
‘Changing the constitutional set-up doesn’t alter the fact that these fiscal challenges need to be addressed by all governments in all countries. Today’s figures show that a more autonomous Scotland will be forced to meet such challenges sooner rather than later.