The author, fiscal expert at FAI, examines the tax changes designed to achieve greater fairness made in the fifth Scottish Parliament – and the scope for reform and greater powers in the next.
Going beyond recovery from the pandemic. In reviewing a recent book on Scotland post-Covid-19, we urge an ambitious, granular debate on the ways to transform our country and make it greener, fairer and more democratic for all.
Since its inception, the Scottish Parliament has not been renowned for its reforming zeal. But the pandemic has thrown up a range of challenges that must be addressed if a ‘working’ system is to re-emerge in hospitals, schools and the courts. It is surely right then that the electorate has some idea of the competing views of each of the political parties as to how they intend to respond to the pandemic’s effects.
“..further Covid-related allocations are designed to support the economy during ongoing restrictions – and these provide the Scottish Government with further resources during 2021/22. In years beyond that, this was a budget that aims to rebuild the economy by leveraging investment, whilst raising more from tax and tightening the screw on public services spending. But there is no role in the future economic vision for welfare policy or public services spending.”
“And herein lies the rub with Scotland’s supposedly “radical” land reform journey. The measures so far have not transformed the big picture: some have merely dragged Scotland’s anachronistic land laws into the 20th century as the rest of the world has entered the 21st. Most changes have worked within the old paradigm, treading carefully—maybe even neurotically—around established property rights.”
The story of BiFab, a fabrication yard that symbolised Scotland’s hopes for a “just transition” from North Sea oil to offshore renewables yet went into administration at the end of last year, has salient lessons for Scotland’s future. Profound institutional redesign is required in the near term if national renewal, predicated on disruptive decarbonisation technologies, […]
‘A publicly run financial system investing in worker-owned firms would be a truly brave vision for Scotland’s economy – but do we have politicians who can see beyond the doom-laden horizons of Capitalist Realism?’ asks Ben Wray in a review of Varoufakis’s first foray into fiction.
‘Child poverty is a systemic and deep routed issue that has been prevalent in our society for too long. However, universal free school meals all year round are unlikely to be the most effective way of tackling this issue.’
‘Many in the Yes movement support independence because they believe it offers a path towards a more progressive future. But the vision outlined in the Growth Commission delivers the opposite: it is difficult to conceive of an economic settlement better designed to ensure that government policy serves the interests of international finance rather than its own citizens.’
‘The scheme will apparently operate ‘UK wide, using the new financial assistance powers in the UK Internal Market Bill’. Whilst the fine details are awaited, the lack of explicit reference to the devolved governments will antagonise intergovernmental relations in area where tensions are already running high.’