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’.
‘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…
‘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.
“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.
“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.”
“These arguments are entirely legitimate, and ‘fairness’ is something we each may have an opinion on, but to criticise the entire GERS exercise for the simple fact that they are based upon ‘estimation’ is clearly wrong.”
This would have beenl the first of a Sceptical Scot series exploring what kind of Scotland we are and want to become…What kind of Scotland we become tomorrow requires a clear and honest look in the mirror today. Come and help us shine a light by taking part in an open, generous and non-partisan conversation.
The new economic initiatives are all welcome, but are unlikely to make much impression on Scotland’s low productivity and lack of investment. Yet the weak economy remains the Scottish Government’s biggest problem. Growth lags that of the rest of the UK and…under the Smith Commission changes, lower growth means lower public spending. Home grown austerity may not be far off.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s decision on the timing of the independence referendum is likely to be the most important of her leadership. If she gets it right her place in Scottish history is assured but if she gets it wrong her time as First Minster would be over. It can be very lonely at the top.”
“People often talk about federalism as if it were a solution for the UK. In truth the UK is already moving beyond it, to a more confederal solution. But a confederation needs policies and institutions of shared rule, as well as self-rule.” Prof Gallagher sets out his own ideas in a piece based on his lecture at Glasgow University on October 10.