‘… 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.’
‘Having failed to resolve these differences prior to the Act, as well as a myriad of other problems, the realities of integration are now coming to the fore, while the baton has passed to the SPA. Charged with providing assurance and oversight, the Authority has some exceptionally hard decisions ahead on what is a fiendishly complex project, against a backdrop of rising demand on police services and increasing cost pressure.’
“It is cartoon politics to portray Westminster as the baddie in respect of funding and powers for councils when there is a steadfast refusal by Holyrood to use its powers to prevent cuts to councils..” Gordon Munro on the funding crisis facing Scottish councils.
‘ 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’.
‘In Scotland, we perhaps put too much emphasis on formal, externally assessed exams – and is it really necessary for students to take them every year for the whole three years of the senior phase?’
Wonk of the year Lucy: ‘The signs are that the wrong people are being made to pay for current higher education policy in Scotland, in skewed debt or lost support, restricted opportunities and squeezed funding overall. As far as I can recall, no-one in Scottish university senior management has ever argued with me about this in public, nor got in touch to tell me privately that they disagree’.
‘To reiterate, our concerns in no way reflect the abilities, experience or skills of Hogg, or other Scottish Government secondees. The issue is the independence of the SPA and the fact that the water between police and government now looks even muddier’.
‘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 question now seems to be why are these fundamental issues of governance and accountability only now are being exposed, and with such serious consequences? This debate should have occurred before a centralised police force was established four years ago’.
‘The decision to integrate BTP in Scotland may be political; however, the merger is a matter of public safety and public money, and the Government has a duty to demonstrate that it is not taking undue risks with either’. Foremost expert backs calls for merger to be put on hold.