‘On Thursday, (as Derek Mackay outlines the 2017-18 Scottish Budget,) the Scottish Fiscal Commission will publish its first ever forecasts for Scottish GDP growth and income tax revenues over the next five years. It will be interesting to see what judgement the Commission has come to about the evolution of both’.
‘… the challenge remains for Derek Mackay as to how best to balance his resource budget with major commitments like additional support for the NHS, more money for childcare and public sector pay uplifts all to be paid for.’
‘The purpose of such devolution would be to ensure that Scotland’s particular demographic challenges, which differ significantly from those elsewhere in the UK, can be met by the public authorities responsible for implementing immigration policy.’
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.