14 Responses to Institute of Fiscal Studies economist looks at fiscal context of independent Scotland

  1. Rather than get into the detail of this actually rather interesting article, I will ask a simple question. Given the challenges the Scottish economy faces do you think we would be better served by

    a: pursuing economic policies designed to maximum the performance of the Scottish economy, playing to its strengths and tackling rather than merely acknowledging its weaknesses


    b: continuing to rely on Westminster’s leadership of economic policy with its focus on the South east of England and in particular the City of London in the hope that they might manage a better job than they have of late and that some of this might actually reach Scotland?

    Independence or dependence? It’s our choice.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 16

    • We would be be very happy to answer this question if we could.
      But, as things stand, there is no substantive information and economic detail on exactly what economic strategy and its associated policies would be pursued for an independent Scotland.
      The First Minister’s ‘Scotland’s Economy’ paper, recently launched, was profoundly disappointing in this respect and, in its lack of economic substance, replaced by ad-man puffery, was damaging to the campaign’s credibility.
      We can assure you and anyone, that when such information becomes available – and we are sure it will because it must – we will not be prejudging it but will respond to it with open mind and goodwill and the necessary intelligent scrutiny.
      We have WANTED and still want to see a coherent, joined up, strong, imaginative, challenging and achievable strategy and policies put forward for a specific future for Scotland – honestly described in unchallengeably accurate costs and benefits and carving out an identity for Scotland that is realistic and unique.
      The extent to which all we are being offered is essentially the status quo with a new badge and a few costly goody bags to entice ‘Yes’ votes could not undermine the ‘independence’ prospectus more thoroughly.
      No one can possibly believe that a change of this magnitude can be made without cost to all concerned.
      It is necessary is to know the realistic costs, perceive the realistic benefits and decide if the price is worth paying.
      We do not believe that the price need be too high or the benefits inconsequential – but as this campaign is being run, the price IS too high and the benefits insubstantial because, in any competent sense, the necessary thinking has not gone on.
      What is being proposed is unrealistic, often unspecific and unproductively expensive into the future – and the easy answers are clearly both misleading and dishonest.
      This won’t do and it won’t do it.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 4

    • Fletcher, why do you continue with complete drivel totally ignoring the consequences of the EU on Scotland…let me give you a choice Independence without Europe or dependence on Europe….in or out ? because that the real question. Shifting power from westminster to Brussels is an absolute no brainer ! let have a look at Baroness ashtons latest exploits…. ” One billion euros of European Union aid to Egypt, supervised by Baroness Ashton, has been largely wasted, with the money doing little to tackle corruption or stop human rights abuses, according to official auditors” newspapers today..! or are you one of the maybe aye maybe naw independyentys that think Scotlands got a right to cherry pick on the EU.. … The EU as everyone can see is a failure and for everyone who joins it the best they will get is the Euro…
      you nor Scotland will decide what bits of the EU they want. Infact, Alejo Vidal-Quadras vice-president of the European Parliament who opposes Catalonia’s separation, said on any applications from breakaway states they are `a dream` but he is somewhat overlooked by fantasist SNP`ers. Just before you start raving on, have the SNP got anything qualified in writing from the EU ? such as opt out on the Euro…NO…well they have to get the facts before any credibility can be gained.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7


        Usual spin –and another armed conflict brewing up which has nothing to do with us.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

    • The link to Mr Emmerson’s presentation has been given in the article above from the outset.
      And – in genuine puzzlement – what precisely do you see as ‘spin’?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  2. i’m still waiting to know how the SG would use the fiscal levers in Indy. There will be 3 positions. Tax up. Tax down. No change.

    To date, despite all the bluster, they have not said anything about how they propose to use them. Given the desperation to control them, we can surmise that tax will go up or down. The question is – which?

    As for the ‘west minster and the S.E’. Change the record. Yet again i benefitted yesterday for investment in the S.E as well as Scotland.

    We live in the UK. We ALL benefit from investment no matter where. If people do not travel, then of course the green eyed monster will come out.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

    • The SNP have said that Corporation Tax will go down, Air Passenger Duty will be abolished and that VAT should be reduced. They want to abolish the Bedroom Tax, increase pensions, increase state provided child care, increase capital spending on infrastructure and create a fairer society. What way do you think that personal taxation is going to go? It’s not rocket science! Unless. persoal tax goes up the sums won’t add up.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

    • oh yes we all benefit– wake up– the wonderful high speed train from France to ……..St Pancras (remember Maggie T promised it would benefit all-the UK!)

      M25 built on oil revenues —how’s the roads in your area?

      Monies spent in SEE BENEFIT SEE

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

    • Its no secret which side of the fence I’m sitting, however in the interests of balance the Independence Referendum isn’t about policies or political positions. Its quite disturbing to see how mixed up the two have become in the public consciousness. So may questions being asked are about what will happen to policies. That, at the moment, is the wrong question and irrelevant.
      The vote is to determine whether Scotland wants the ability for full self determination or to remain in the UK. The actual politics and policies that might sit behind that (increase tax / decrease tax / operate in a way to create a fairer society / increase or decrease public spending / keep or reject nuclear / EU membership etc etc) is dependent on what party the country subsequently votes for.
      This may or not be the SNP. Who knows what parties we might even have a choice over if the vote goes to a Yes. Maybe the unionist parties as we know them now will decide at a central UK level that they are not interested in running an independent Scotland. This wouldn’t be so strange. There are no links beyond broad ideology between the political parties in the UK and Republic of Ireland and as far as I know, no aspiration or intention of any UK based party looking to get seats in the Irish parliament.
      We might face a choice of SNP and a long line of independent political parties with varying persuasions from left to right. They might, I suppose, become formed from the ostracised rump of the current Scottish Labour / Conservative / Libdem / Green parties. Who knows. Thats probably a credible question to ask of them. In fairness the SNP is the only party that is clearly going to remain whole and intact as now in an independent Scotland. We might end up like Belgium with dozens of small parties and a future that can only ever consist of loose coalitions. That might be a good or bad thing. Who knows.
      There are legitimate questions around what will happen to the structural institutions of state / currency etc that are independent of whoever the political party in leadership at the time is. This is really dependent on the stance the rest of the UK takes if Scotland chooses to walk away. While there is the potential for the union to remain, of course the unionist parties are holding the line and not even contemplating a situation where there is a split. Why should they, its not them who want it to happen.
      But it cannot be taken for granted that all current shared public services will continue to be available as they are now. They may be continued as present under a cosy and collaborative arrangement as the SNP are hoping. Or the UK may choose to not supply Scotland with these services. Or the UK might agree for these services to be ‘bought-in’, maybe as a profitable export trade if the UK has any sense.
      Its probably not a choice the Scots have much say in then. If the Scottish population actively vote to remove themselves from the Union, the population in the rest of the UK would be fully entitled to exercise their democratic right through vote or public pressure to demand that legacy support to Scotland is withdrawn. Especially if there is any suggestion UK taxpayers are in some way subsidising the state structure of a foreign country. UK MPs would have no obligation to Scotland so I can’t see why they would put up a strong fight.

      All this discussion about taxes and social care and capital spending in some ways is nothing to do with the referendum. It relates to what is in the manifesto of whatever parties might be putting themselves forward in 2016.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. I’m struggling to understand why Finland with little natural resources except timber, has a better quality of life than we have?

    It’s industrial revolution was started by a Scotsman by the name of Finlayson and his mills are still producing

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

    • Finland also has much higher suicide rates than the UK. What does that say about there being ‘a better quality of life’?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  4. “I’m struggling to understand why Finland with little natural resources except timber, has a better quality of life than we have?”

    Struggle no more Graeme. Here’s a real pointer.

    A. Finland do not have to rely on the performance of a government they did not elect to manage their economy, in fact successive economy management inept governments.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

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