The new UK Chancellor has set out his radical fiscal plans – and prompted a sterling crisis. The situation is so grave, not least for Scotland, it merits a return from us in the interests of a wider public policy debate. Here we republish commentary from the FAI – and expect to run further contributions this autumn.
“A core resource block grant in 2022/23 that is 8% higher than pre-pandemic might sound generous, but to deal with the pandemic’s legacy and underlying public services pressures it is anything but. In this context, Kate Forbes’ third budget may well be her most challenging.”
“We hope that a clear, transparent, assessment of financial requirements, that meets with consensus from those who know, work for and draw on these services, emerges. An underfunded National Care Service is unlikely to do any better than the system that it seeks to replace.”
“For now, there’s a mismatch between the Scottish Government’s vision of a more successful Scotland – where poverty is reduced, and economic growth is sustainable – and how we assess public sector performance. I am not convinced that public sector leaders really feel accountable for delivering change that demands different organisations work together.”
‘In the aftermath of an election that was largely framed in terms of independence and the union, now is the time for wider debates and discussions over what recovery from the pandemic might look like, for women of colour, for unpaid carers, for lone parents, for disabled women…”
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.
“..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.”
“To chart a path to recovery Scottish Labour needs to elect a new opponent,” argues Chris Silver. “If the party found a way to trace a route back to its origins – seeking in the first instance to represent the interests of those who live by selling their labour – there could be a path back from the brink…”
‘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.’