Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spending Review: quick summary

In headline terms, the Spending Review looks little different from the public finance forecasts in the summer budget.  The Government will achieve a fiscal surplus by the end of this parliament (the first time that this has been achieved since … Continue reading

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The politics & economics of Council Tax reform

The Council Tax was introduced throughout Great Britain in 1993 to replace the Poll Tax, which had obtained a high degree of political unpopularity. The reason for the Poll Tax’s unpopularity was obvious: as a lump sum tax, it taxed … Continue reading

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Challenging the government’s policies on inequality and poverty

Earlier this year Naomi Eisenstadt was appointed as the Scottish Government’s Adviser on Poverty and Inequality. It’s easy to be cynical about such appointments – will they really make a difference, or will they be used simply to publicly validate … Continue reading

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Keynote presentation at Understanding Society conference, University of Essex

David Bell gave one of keynote presentations at the Understanding Society biannual conference at the University of Essex. His title was “Scotland’s Changing Fiscal Framework through the Prism of Understanding Society”. Click here to access his slides.

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Benefits of decentralisation?

The IFS has published an analysis of Scottish Government finances under so-called full fiscal autonomy, as called for in the SNP manifesto. The Scottish Labour party have highlighted the figures from this analysis as they try to claw back some … Continue reading

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Is the SNP the anti-austerity party?

In a speech in February, Nicola Sturgeon suggested she was in favour of a policy to increase departmental spending by 0.5% per year in real terms during the next Parliament. By making the case for a 0.5% real terms increase … Continue reading

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Inequality in the 21st Century

For a long time in economics it was believed that issues of distribution could be considered separately from issues of economic growth. As far as welfare was concerned, the consensus was that growth was of first order importance and the … Continue reading

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How will the general election result and new tax powers affect the Scottish budget?

With all the recent discussion about the Smith Commission and devolved taxation, it’s perhaps easy to forget that the block grant from Westminster will continue to account for the major part of the Scottish budget for the next few years … Continue reading

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The distribution of wealth

At Scottish Fiscal and Economic Studies, we have, and are continuing to develop, a microsimulation model of UK and Scottish households which we can use for distributional analysis. For example we can say what a particular change in fiscal policy … Continue reading

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How different has Scotland’s recession and recovery been from the UK’s?

Compared to the recessions of the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the recent crisis in the UK has been characterised by several distinguishing features: The fall in output has been more prolonged; the level of GDP did not recover its pre-recession … Continue reading

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