‘In short, ‘ending austerity’ is possible with significant but not unrealistic spending increases. What makes a promise to end austerity politically difficult is that it cannot be achieved without tax rises if the government is to keep to its fiscal rules and commitments.’
‘ It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the effects of a chaotic Brexit would be much worse for poorer Scots, who spend more of their income on goods that will attract higher tariffs post-Brexit.’
‘The UK Government needs to take more ownership for the perceived troubles of the Scottish deficit because it is clearly responsible for many of the revenue and spending decisions that have got us to where we are…’
‘It is important to remember that GERS takes the current constitutional settlement as given. If the very purpose of independence is to take different choices about the type of economy and society that we live in, then a set of accounts based upon the current constitutional settlement and policy priorities will tell us little about the long-term finances of an independent Scotland.’
‘Two years on from the referendum outcome, simply kicking the can down the road – or sleep walking into a no-deal outcome – is simply no longer a credible economic strategy to adopt:’ FAI on the risks to the Scottish economic recovery
‘With that in mind, if this optimism translates into actual activity and higher pay for workers, then the sector should help boost economic growth in Scotland as a whole during 2018.’
‘But whatever measure or comparison used, it is clear that the challenge to boost Scotland’s long-term rate of productivity shows no sign of disappearing. Back in 2007, the Scottish Government set a target to “rank in the top quartile for productivity amongst our key trading partners in the OECD by 2017”. It is clear that this target will be missed’.
‘On balance, the SFC’s GDP forecasts are not out of kilter with the recent past. And the SFC assumes that there will be no ‘bounce-back’ in Scottish growth to recapture weak growth relative to the UK over the past 2.5 years’.
‘Under the Scottish Government’s proposed income tax policy, everyone earning under £33k will pay less tax in 2018/19 than they did this year (2017/18). BUT part of this is due to the increase in Personal Allowance, which would have happened anyway, i.e. irrespective of any announcement made by Mr Mackay today.’
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.