Public Expenditure In Scotland, and Monitoring the Financial Aspects of Devolution.
 

 A Critique of GERS: Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, vol 24, no.1 (1998).

This paper is a critique both of the detail in GERS, and of the way GERS is commonly used.
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The Implications of the Barnett Formula

Cuthbert, J.R. : Saltire Paper no.1, (1998).

Initial paper on Barnett squeeze: points out the likely long term problems which the Barnett formula is likely to imply for the funding of the Scottish Parliament, and some of the resulting implications.

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Income Tax and the Funding of the Scottish Parliament

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.:  Saltire Paper no.1, (1998).

Early analysis of various aspects of income tax raising powers of Scottish Parliament. Identifies various problems with use of these powers, related to the perverse way in which the funding arrangements for Scottish devolution have been organised.

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Monitoring the Financial Aspects of the Devolution Settlement: Issues and Data Requirements

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, vol 24, no.4, (1999).

To some extent overtaken by the later monitoring paper below, (FOA, Dec 2002), but still contains relevant material, e.g., on whether Scotland actually fully benefits from European funding.
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A Tax Whose Time has Passed

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  in “Scotland’s Enterprise Deficit”, Policy Institute, Edinburgh, (2000).
This paper deals with the dilemma posed by Non Domestic Rates in the devolution context. Also has more general implications for the debate about fiscal autonomy.

The Barnett Squeeze in Spending Review 2000

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, Vol 26, No2: (May, 2001).

The Barnett squeeze is important for understanding the context of Scottish Executive budget decisions. This whole question will become much more relevant if, as seems inevitable, we are moving into a period of relative public expenditure restraint.
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See also accompanying tables.

 

The Effect of Relative Population Growth on the Barnett Squeeze

Cuthbert, J.R: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, Vol 26, No2: (May, 2001).

A fairly technical topic: but sobering on the extent of Scotland’s relative population decline: and essential for understanding how this will impact on convergence in per-capita spending levels.
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See also accompanying charts.

The Treasury Funding Statements as a Tool in Monitoring the Devolution Settlement

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, Vol 27, No4: (December, 2002).

This paper demonstrates the importance of the Treasury funding statement in the monitoring context, since it is the only source which shows in detail where the reserved/devolved boundary lies. The paper also points to a number of areas where Scotland is losing out because the interface with Whitehall departments is not working properly.
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Monitoring and Measurement Issues Posed by Devolution in the United Kingdom

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M:  invited paper given at conference on Measuring Government Performance, organised by the Statistics User Committee, at the Royal Society, London, (November 2003).
Overview of issues involved in monitoring devolution.
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A Constructive Critique of the Treasury's Country and Regional Analysis of Public Expenditure
Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M:  Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, Vol 30, No.3: (2005).
This paper, based on data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, demonstrates substantial weaknesses in the Treasury’s published data: for example, the Treasury’s comparison of identifiable expenditure between Scotland and England excludes £4.4 billion of expenditure from the English side of the comparison, where expenditure on the corresponding services is included for Scotland. Extensive proposals are suggested for improving the Treasury data which, if implemented, would also have a positive effect on service delivery.
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Illuminating Whitehall's Disinterest
Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: (importance of Freedom of Information Act): Scottish Left Review, Issue 31: (November/December 2005).

Demonstrates the importance of the Freedom of Information Act in shedding light on devolution: and makes a strong case for the Act not to be modified, (as is currently threatened).

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Comment to Treasury on their response to the Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis user consultation.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: ( August 2006).

In 2005/06, the Treasury carried out a consultation on the development of the key Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses: (see relevant page on Treasury website). Our first response to this consultation was to submit our "Constructive Critique" paper- see above. The Treasury response to the overall consultation is a disappointing document. This note is our comment on the Treasury response.

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Some Assorted Problems with Statistical and Economic data, and Their Implications.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  talk given at Statistics Commission Seminar on "Do we have the data we need to measure the economy in Scotland?", Royal Society of Edinburgh, September 6th 2006.

By focussing on a number of specific examples, identifies a number of areas where significant improvements are required.

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An Open Letter on GERS.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  open letter to Wendy Alexander, M.S.P., dated 24 March 2007.

An open letter to Wendy Alexander, convenor of the Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament. We were invited to appear before the Finance Committee on 16th January, when they were considering GERS, but declined the invitation. However, since January we have done substantial further work on GERS, and have identified some very significant new errors. This open letter brings this work into the public domain, and contradicts the views on the quality  of GERS expressed by several of the panel on 16th January.

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Time to Stop the Abuse of GERS.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, April 1st 2007.

Builds on recent work we have carried out on GERS:  highlights a very misleading use of GERS in guidance material issued by Learning and Teaching Scotland, ( a government funded quango), in connection with the Higher Level Modern Studies examination. 

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Government Expenditure and Revenues in Scotland (GERS)

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.:  Powerpoint presentation of seminar given at University of Edinburgh, Centre for Public Health Policy, 23rd April, 2007.

Seminar at Edinburgh University summarising our findings, conclusions and recommendations on GERS.

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How Scotland will be Disadvantaged in the Longer Term by Recent Changes in Government Accounting for European Structural Funds

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Fraser of Allander Institute Quarterly Economic Commentary, Vol 31, No.4: (July 2007).

Explains how a recent change in the Treasury rules for accounting for European Structural Fund receipts means that Scotland will be materially damaged in the longer term- and suggests what needs to be done to rectify the situation.

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A New Twist to an Old Scandal: How Recent Changes in Government Accounting for European Structural Funds Mean that Scotland will Lose Out

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 942, August 1st, 2007.

A less technical version of the preceding paper.

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Opening up the books on the true state of Scottish finances

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.: Sunday Herald, 22nd June, 2008.

This article welcomes the appearance of the Scottish Government's latest GERS publication. The latest GERS incorporates significant methodological improvements over earlier versions. There is still, however, plenty of scope for further improvements, both in GERS, and Scotland's wider economic statistics.

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Perverse Incentive Effect of the Calman Income Tax Proposals

Cuthbert, J.R.: note sent to Scottish Government, June 2009.

Identifies a perverse incentive effect which is implicit in the Calman income tax proposals, and which could pose a grave threat to a Scottish government operating under the Calman rules.

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Open Letter to the Calman Commission: Technical Failings in the Calman Proposals on Income Tax

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: open letter sent to Calman Commission secretariat, 16th July 2009.

Builds upon material in immediately preceding paper, and identifies technical flaws in the arrangements for a Scottish  income tax proposed by the Calman Commission - then examines the likely consequences. Among these is a real danger that the proposals, if implemented would force a Scottish government into a deflationary trap. Also proposes solution to identified problems.

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How Calman's Income Tax Proposals Set a Trap for Scotland

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  Scots Independent, Issue 966, August, 2009.

This article is a more accessible version of the material in our open letter to Calman.

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French and German Recovery: What Does this Say about the Euro?

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 967, September, 2009.

Points out that recent news that the French and German economies may be starting to recover in fact highlights worrying evidence of a growing split in the eurozone, with a number of economies suffering a growing loss of competitiveness relative to the eurozone core.

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Do Official Statistics Provide an Adequate Basis for the Debate about the UK Economy?

Cuthbert, J.R.: Invited talk given at Royal Statistical Society Conference, Edinburgh, 11 September 2009.

This is the slightly expanded, (by inclusion of fuller references, etc), version of  the talk. The talk uses three illustrative examples to argue that official statistics has failed badly.

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Do Official Statistics Provide an Adequate Basis for Debate about Scottish Independence: or, indeed, about the process of devolution.

Cuthbert, M.:  Invited talk given at Royal Statistical Society Conference, Edinburgh, 11 September 2009.

This is the full version of the paper on which the talk was based.

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Correspondence with Scotland Office about Calman tax proposals.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:  October 2009.

After submitting our open letter to Calman, we had a meeting with Scotland Office officials. The Scotland Office subsequently emailed the Canadian Professor Boadway, for his advice on two issues. This is our reply, which is essentially self explanatory, to the email we subsequently received from the Scotland Office.

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Calman White Paper Makes Things Worse on Tax

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 971, January, 2010.

This article points out that, under the transitional arrangements proposed in the Westminster government's White Paper on Calman, the technical problems we identified with the original Calman tax proposals would be much worse: under the transitional arrangements, there would be no possibility of the Scottish government lowering its tax rate, and at the same time increasing its revenues.

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Issues on Calman Tax Proposals Still Unresolved

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, Vol 33, No. 3, February 2010.

This is our definitive account of the technical problems with the income tax proposals in Calman, as amended by the Westminster government White Paper. We show that, far from addressing the problems with the original Calman proposals, the transitional arrangements in the White Paper would actually place a Scottish government in an even worse fiscal trap.

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Murphy's £75 billion Claim Leaves a Bad Taste

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 973, March, 2010.

Jim Murphy's department, the Scotland Office, recently produced a report arguing that Scotland had experienced a £75bn bonus from devolution. This is a critique of the Scotland Office paper. We also argue that the debate on Scotland's economy and future is unlikely to move on until an integrated set of accounts is produced, giving a complete picture of the financial flows into and out of the Scottish economy, (and including oil as an integral part of the economy.)

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The Fiscal Trap

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Public Finance, 11th March 2010.

This is a more popular version of the above Fraser of Allander paper on Calman.

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Yet Another Alarmist Report

Cuthbert, M., Cuthbert, J.R.:  Scots Independent, Issue 974, April 2010.

Critique of a report produced by the Centre for Public Policy for Regions, looking at the fiscal balance of an independent Scotland.

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Response to the second question on the consultation paper, relating to question 1 in the referendum.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Response to Scottish Government consultation on draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill: April 2010.

This response to the referendum consultation is about the possible question dealing with implementation of the Calman proposals on income tax. Our response builds on our previous research on Calman, and argues that, given the flaws in the Calman proposals, the option of implementing Calman should not be included in the proposed referendum.

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Scotland and the UK National Debt: Further issues arising from the CPPR report.

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 975, May 2010.

This continues the critique of the CPPR report which we began in our last Scots Independent article. This article looks particularly at the question of Scotland and the UK national debt, and argues that this issue is much less of a concern when viewed in the context of the overall net worth of the public sector.

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Welsh Exercise on Needs Sets a Trap for Scotland

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 976, June 2010.

This is a critique of a recent report produced for the “Independent Commission for Funding and Finance for Wales.” We argue that the Welsh analysis is an inadequate way of assessing the need for public services. More importantly, we also argue that “need for public services” should not be the primary focus: much more important is to consider the need for achieving better economic balance between the different parts of the UK.

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The Osborne Budget: Implications for Scotland

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.:Scots Independent, Issue 977, July 2010.

First of two articles looking at the likely implications for Scotland of the Osborne budget – and why these are likely to be dire. Against this background, the Westminster government is likely to attempt shift responsibility for the coming pain by implementing the Calman tax proposals, or some other package of limited fiscal autonomy. We argue that any such scheme offered by Westminster is likely to be inadequate and damaging: and hence should be treated with great caution.

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Time to Move Beyond GERS: An Approach to Estimating Flows of Private Finance for the Scottish Economy

Cuthbert, J. R. Paper SESCG 2010/1/2 discussed at Scottish Economic Statistics Consultants’ Group, at meeting on 18 October 2010.
Suggests that, instead of regarding the financial flows on Scotland’s government account in isolation, (essentially, the traditional GERS debate), these flows should be seen as one component in a more integrated set of accounts: and addresses some of the issues involved in estimating key aggregates in this wider approach.

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Holtham Misrepresents our Position on Welsh Needs Exercise

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 981, November 2010.

Following our critique of the Holtham Commission work on needs assessment, (see above), a response by Holtham was published in the October 2010 Scots Independent: Holtham’s response can be accessed here. This is our reply to Holtham, showing that he has significantly misrepresented our views.

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The Budget: Issues and Challenges.

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 982, December 2010.

This is our comment on the Budget which John Swinney presented to the Scottish Parliament on 17 November.

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Flawed Scotland Bill Tax Proposals – A Trap for Labour

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: Paper published on Scottish Left Review website, December 2010, and in printed edition of SLR, issue 62.

This article points out the flaws in the income tax proposals in the recently published Scotland Bill: and also points out the political implications, which are likely to affect Labour in particular.

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Wendy’s Committee Fails Scotland Badly.

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: Scottish Left Review Issue 63, March 2011.

Shows how evidence given to the Scotland Bill committee, arguing against our critique of the tax raising powers in the Bill, is flawed. Also shows how later work we have carried out strengthens the concern that flaws the proposed tax arrangements will lead to the income tax rate in Scotland being too high.

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Why a Scottish Government, operating under Calman, will always raise more in tax for a given increase in tax rate than an independent or UK government facing the same Laffer curve.

Cuthbert, J. R.

Technical note referred to in the preceding paper.

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Self Delusion at Holyrood on Scotland Bill

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: Scots Independent, Issue 986, April 2011.

This paper points out the deficiencies in the scrutiny of the Calman tax proposals carried out by the Scotland Bill Committee of the Scottish parliament.

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Evidence given to Scotland Bill Committee of Scottish Parliament, in preparation for appearance before committee on 13 September 2011

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert M.

We argue in this evidence that there are technical flaws with the Scotland Bill income tax proposals. The effect is likely to be that a Scottish government operating under these rules would set a tax rate which is too high. This is likely to have adverse deflationary effects on the Scottish economy. Annex 3 to our evidence is available here.

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An Appearance before the Scotland Bill Committee

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert M.: Scots Independent, Issue 992, October 2011.

This article reports on our appearance at the Scotland Bill Committee on 13th September. Far from allaying our concerns about the damaging effects of the Scotland Bill income tax proposals, the discussion and other evidence in fact confirmed our worries.

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GERS: Where now?

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert M.: Chapter in the book “Scotland’s Economic Future” edited by Donald MacKay, published by Reform Scotland, October 2011.

We show how GERS, from its inception, was an essentially political document: and how, despite recent technical improvements, it remains the focus of an inherently sterile annual debate. What we argue is that the key to moving on to an altogether more productive debate is to replace the partial treatment in GERS with a full set of balanced accounts, showing all of the external flows into and out of the Scottish economy.

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Unhealthy Consequences.

Cuthbert M., Cuthbert J. R.: Public Finance, Blog Section, 8th December 2011.

Shorter version of the paper described in the next entry.

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How the Proposed Changes in the NHS in England will have serious Repercussions for Scotland and Wales.

Cuthbert M., Cuthbert J. R.: Scots Independent, Issue 995, January 2012.

Explains how the proposed NHS reforms in England will adversely affect the Scottish Government’s budget: and therefore why, counter to the conventional unionist view of the West Lothian question, Scottish MPs should be voting at Westminster on this issue.

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You are absolutely wrong on the structural funds, Mr. Moore

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: published on “Bella Caledonia” blog, April 2013.

The UK government’s recent announcement on how it had decided to share the UK structural fund allocation among the countries of the UK was hailed by Michael Moore as a triumph for the union. This paper shows how, on the contrary, Scotland has been badly penalised on its receipt of structural funds, precisely because it is part of the UK.

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Issues surrounding the sharing of UK debt post independence

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: paper published by Jimmy Reid Foundation, January 2014.
Discusses various issues surrounding the question of the sharing of the UK’s debt after independence. Concludes that the negotiations should be informed by a recognition of the size of the cumulative fiscal surplus, (estimated at over £150 billion), which Scotland would by now possess if it had achieved independence in 1980: by an acknowledgement of the implications of quantitative easing: and by a recognition of the principles of the Vienna convention.
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Evidence submitted to Scottish Parliament Finance Committee

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: written evidence, submitted before appearance to give oral evidence on 30 April 2014, in relation to the Committee's inquiry on Scotland’s public finances post 2014.

Our note covers five separate topics. Among other things, it argues that the Barnett Formula is unlikely to be sustainable in its present form in the event of a “no” vote: that proposals to increase the Calman tax threshold would need to be handled very carefully: and reviews issues surrounding debt sharing in the event of a “yes” vote, including the important implications of quantitative easing.

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Note on calculation of Scotland’s notional cumulative fiscal balance, assuming it had become independent in 1980

Cuthbert, J.R.: note, and supporting spreadsheet, submitted to Finance Committee, following appearance before Committee on 30 April 2014: 5 May 2014.

Shows how, if Scotland had become independent in 1980, it could by now reasonably have expected to be in possession of a sovereign fund amounting to around £150 billion.

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The Treasury’s Union Dividend: Flawed and Meaningless

Cuthbert, J.R., Cuthbert, M.: published by “Options for Scotland”, 13th August 2014.
Shows that there are serious technical flaws with the Treasury analysis : but, fundamentally, argues that the basis of the Treasury’s approach is so ill-conceived that it renders their attempt to calculate a “union dividend” essentially meaningless.
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Whitehall bias and underperformance

Cuthbert, J. R. Cuthbert, M:  published on Newsnet Scotland 21 August 2014.

Builds on our “Options for Scotland” paper on the Union Dividend, and draws out what this illustrates about the decline of the UK civil service. A similar note was also published on the “Open Democracy” blog on 26 August.

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Treasury’s Union Dividend Deeply Flawed

Cuthbert, J. R. Cuthbert, M:  to be published by “Academics for Yes, Scotland”, 2014.
Summarises our critique of the union dividend, and stresses in particular the Treasury’s failure to model the funding of the Scottish government under continuation of the union.

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The IFS “observation” on funding Scotland’s NHS ignores the key risk to the NHS within the UK

Cuthbert, J. R. Cuthbert, M: published on Bella Caledonia, 12 September 2014.
A critique of the recent IFS intervention in the debate about the risk to Scotland’s NHS: points out that the IFS completely ignore the key issue of the consequences of privatisation in England.

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BBC repeats error – that the English subsidise Scotland

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Bella Caledonia, 8 October 2014.
This is about a letter we sent to the BBC, complaining about a statement made by Robert Peston, that England subsidises Scotland.

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BBC Round 2: It turns out Peston missed out the oil

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.: published on Bella Caledonia, 26 October 2014.
Contains the BBC’s response to our earlier letter, and our reply. We identify serious errors in the analysis underlying Peston’s statement: in particular, he managed to miss out Scotland’s oil revenues!

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The effect of relative population growth on the Barnett Formula

Cuthbert, J. R.: paper submitted to Finance Committee, after giving evidence to Committee on 22 April.

Explains the importance of relative population change as a factor moderating the operation of the Barnett formula.

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More Nonsense from the BBC

Cuthbert, J. R., Cuthbert, M.:  published on Bella Caledonia, 3rd May 2015.
Further instalment in long running saga with BBC.

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The Barnett formula under the Smith reforms

Cuthbert, J. R.: Fraser of Allander Institute Economic Commentary, Vol (39)1, June 2015.

Models the operation of the post-Smith fiscal settlement as it is currently proposed: and shows that what will result will be an unstable settlement which unduly penalises Scotland.

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Barnett after Smith: Not a Good Outlook

Cuthbert, J. R.: published on Bella Caledonia, 26 June 2015.
Reports on the main conclusions in the previous paper.

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Written Evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs: The devolution of public finances in the United Kingdom

Cuthbert, J. R.: written evidence submitted before giving oral evidence to Committee on 9th September.

Note submitted before giving oral evidence to the Committee on the fiscal framework after the Smith reforms. Highlights in particular the problem of how the proposed indexation arrangements will penalise Scotland.

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Written Evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs: The devolution of public finances in the United Kingdom

Cuthbert, M:  written evidence submitted before giving oral evidence to Committee on 9th September.

Note submitted before giving oral evidence to the Committee on the fiscal framework after the Smith reforms. Highlights a number of issues, including problems of transparency and data availability.

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Modelling Scotland’s Fiscal Settlement

Cuthbert, J. R.: Note submitted to House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee following evidence session on 9th September.
Gives proofs of some properties of Holtham indexation which I had mentioned in oral evidence to the committee.

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Who was Right in the Andrew Neil Scottish Budget Row

Jim and Margaret Cuthbert: published in Bella Caledonia, 26 October, 2015.

Makes sense of competing claims on Scottish Budget, following statements made by Andrew Neil on BBC Sunday Politics Show, 18th October.

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Time to Get Ready for the Second Biggest Decision in 300 Years

Cuthbert, J. R.:  published in Bella Caledonia, 16 November, 2015.

Argues that the decision which the Scottish Parliament will have to take soon on the post-Smith fiscal settlement will be one of the most important decisions for Scotland for many years: and that we need to be much more conscious of the implications.

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IFS report provides inadequate basis for fiscal settlement negotiations

Cuthbert, J. R.: published as Jimmy Reid Foundation Working Paper No. 1, 2015: 11 December 2015.

Argues that there are significant dangers if the recent report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, on adjusting the Scottish government’s block grant, is taken as the basis for negotiating the post-Smith fiscal settlement.

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Fiscal Settlement Options

Cuthbert, J. R.: part of presentation given at seminar on Fiscal Framework for Scotland, Nuffield College, Oxford, 15 December 2015.
This is part of the presentation I gave at the above seminar: (the other part of my presentation was based on my JRF Working Paper critique of the IFS Report: see previous item.) What this table does is to outline some of the characteristics of the broader decision space within which the current negotiations on the fiscal settlement should be taking place. Has to be read in conjunction with the JRF Working Paper.

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Fiscal Settlement: Flawed IFS Report Bad News for Scotland

Cuthbert, J. R.: Published in Bella Caledonia, 27th December 2015.

Refers to above JRF Working Paper, and highlights danger that Scottish negotiators may already have given up too much ground in the secrecy surrounding current fiscal settlement negotiations.

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Crucial importance of the Smith fiscal settlement

Cuthbert, J. R.: published in the Scots Independent, Issue no 1043, January 2016.

Another piece highlighting the dangers of Holtham indexation.

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Dangers posed by imminent fiscal trap

Cuthbert, J. R.: published in Scottish Left Review, Issue 91: January/February 2016.
This is a fuller version of an article published in the Scottish Left Review, pointing out the trap the Scottish government is in danger of falling into in the current fiscal settlement negotiations, and calling for an end to the secrecy surrounding the negotiations.

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Adjusting the Scottish government’s block grant: Taking a wider perspective

Cuthbert, J. R.: Jimmy Reid Foundation Policy paper, published January 25, 2016.
Based on the above JRF Working Paper no. 1, this report includes a new final section, describing and discussing the options for the fiscal settlement outlined in the presentation I gave at the Nuffield seminar on 15 December.

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Will a disastrous fiscal settlement be the end for John Swinney?

Cuthbert, J. R.:  published in Bella Caledonia, 7 February 2016.
As the self-imposed deadline for the completion of the fiscal settlement negotiations draws near, this article argues that if John Swinney only manages to secure the disastrous deal which currently looks in prospect – he should resign.

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Treasury attitude highlights another flaw in the fiscal settlement

Cuthbert, J. R.:  published in Bella Caledonia, 24 February 2016.
Shows how flaws in the negotiating process for the recently agreed fiscal settlement have led to a flawed deal, which is likely to have disastrous consequences for Scotland.

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Flawed process leads to a damaging deal

Cuthbert, J. R.:  published in Scottish Left Review, Issue 92: March/April 2016.
Looks at why the re-negotiation arrangements which are part of the recently agreed fiscal settlement are likely to be worth very little when we actually need them.

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Cuthbert, M.: “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”: published in the National, April 2016.

The data requirements of devolution finance: how these will impact on the central departments

Cuthbert, J. R.: paper for Scottish Economic Statistics Consultative Group meeting, 19th May 2016.
This note considers what data will be required so that the funding arrangements for the devolved administrations can be run effectively.

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Scotland’s Last Fantasy Election?

Cuthbert, J. R.: Scottish Left Review”, Issue 93 June 2016.

Argues that there was a large element of fiscal fantasy in the conduct of the May 2016 Scottish elections: and that reality is likely to intrude before the next election.

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Response to GERs consultation

Cuthbert, J. R.: Response to Scottish Government consultation on the future of GERS, 6 July 2016.
This response discusses the information requirements stemming from the post-referendum fiscal changes.

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Scottish Government GERS and Brexit Reports: sifting through to try to get to the real state of affairs

Cuthbert, M.:  Commonspace, 26 August 2016.
A critique of the quality of the data in the recent GERS and Brexit reports produced by the Scottish government.

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A fine dividend?

Cuthbert, J. R.: Published on Commonspace, 29 8 2016.
This note argues that one of the key points missed in the discussion of the recently published GERS figures has been the future impact of Scotland’s new post-referendum fiscal settlement.

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Brexit and the Fiscal Settlement

Cuthbert, J. R.:  published on Fraser of Allander Institute Blog, 27 September 2016.
Since agriculture is a devolved area, responsibility for agricultural support payments, currently made under CAP, will revert to Scotland post-Brexit. This note discusses some of the problems this will pose for the fiscal settlement between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

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Issue with Scottish Government Borrowing Powers in 2015/16 highlights need for greater openness – and scrutiny

Cuthbert, J. R.: published on Commonspace, 18 October 2016.

In July 2015, the Office for National Statistics classified the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route NPD scheme as being “on the books” of the Scottish government. As a result, the Scottish government decided to use its new borrowing powers to provide cover for this and similar schemes. This note examines some of the implications of this decision.

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Adjusting the Block Grant Abatement: the Algebra of CM and IPC

Cuthbert, J. R.: Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, vol 40, no. 3, December 2016.

This note develops a simple algebraic expression for the difference between the CM and IPC methods of indexing the Block Grant Abatement, and explores some of the implications.

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The Prudential Code: flimsy fig leaf in the coming storm

Cuthbert, J. R.: Jimmy Reid Foundation Policy paper, published December 2016.
This paper identifies problems with the operation in Scotland of the Prudential Code for local authority capital finance, and makes suggestions for change.

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