“today’s numbers set the starting point for a discussion about the choices and challenges that need to be addressed by those advocating independence or new fiscal arrangements. It is not enough to say ‘everything will be fine’ or ‘look at this country, they can run a sensible fiscal balance so why can’t Scotland?’. Concrete proposals and ideas are needed.”
“The manifestos have fallen short on the level of financial detail behind their plans.” And so has the debate. Parties need to be more transparent about their fiscal options…
In a special guest blog, Sir Tom Hunter, whose eponymous Foundation commissioned the recent Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate report from Oxford Economics, underlines how Scotland’s economy lags behind and needs radical change to catch up and rediscover its innovative dynamism.
‘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.’
The Scottish Government Economic Advisory Group report has been criticised for being light on specifics. Tim Bell draws on a far older model for building a new order.
“This lack of economic engagement by senior SNP Ministers remains a weakness for the independence message on the economy. Such a policy vacuum in a key area of the independence debate may be manageable when minds are focussed elsewhere but if a Second Referendum were to become a reality then it would soon turn into a significant weak point in the pro-independence argument.”
After questioning economic orthodoxy in his two previous articles, the author asks whether Scotland can deal with the ‘new normal’ and asks commentators/analysts to join nin the discussion.
‘Overall, a combination of : the pandemic lockdown; the existing post financial crisis slowdown, in both absolute and relative (to the UK) terms; and another looming North Sea slowdown, means that Scotland’s economic prospects are far from bright.’
The Scottish Government has yet another new group of economic advisers (on the recovery): it should think more about practical delivery of any new policy ideas, says FAI.
The money could be better spent – in good sardonic style, Fraser of Allender lists the reasons for not wasting time on ‘a cracking idea’.