Sunday, February 11, 2007

ECONOMICS

DIFFERING VIEWS



As shown through the previous articles on here there are major debates in politics about the economic record of differing administrations and those who are hoping to make up the next administration. So I thought that it would be an idea to dedicate a series of posts to the issue. I have already done a bit of this on the previous posts regarding a Scotland on Sunday article last week, although mainly in the comments section so this week thought that I would concentrate on the SNP Economics.

This week there was a story in the Scotsman regarding the £4.5 Billion black hole in their financial plans for Scotland, I would not recommend anyone wanting a greater understanding of the issues to simply rely on one source, but, unfortunately for the SNP they don't need to.

According to a similar article in the Guardian newspaper on the 21st of January this year there are serious concerns over the SNP's economic plans. In the Scotsman newspaper Professor Midwinter suggests that there would be a £4.5 Billion pound deficit in the plans, in the final paragraph of the analysis he concludes that the SNP will have to raise taxes, cut spending or borrow heavily to tackle the deficit and meet their pre election commitments.

A lot of the analysis is based on the difference in how the figures are calculated, where the other parties use the Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (GERS) figures the SNP have suggested these figures are wrong, yet are using them where they feel they can help their economic case. An article in the Times newspaper similarly highlighted that leading SNP economists have concluded that the GERS figures are extremely robust

It is true that some say it is £11 billion, some say £6 billion and one Professor Midwinter even says £4 Billion the last one takes into account the Oil revenues and this is why Professor Winter comes to his final conclusion that the sums simply do not add up.

The Times Article is an interesting analysis of the issues involved, it shows the figures in plain English and in doing so highlights that the Estimated Scottish Public Spending was £47.6 Billion in 2004-2005, the taxation income was £36.4 Billion leaving the gap of £11.2 Billion, this is not including the oil revenue. When taking into account the oil revenue (ALL OF IT not a percentage as suggested by the SNP) of £5.2 Billion you are still looking at a £6 Billion pound deficit.


Although it is true that the Oil prices of late have been rising, it is similarly true that the market price for oil is very volatile and is rarely steady for a prolonged period of time. It also might be worth examining the green credentials of a party that suggests that they would be basing the whole economy on a damaging and scarce fuel source, reducing the oil consumption of Scotland while relying on the increasing consumption of other nations in order to bring in the money is a strange and contradictory position. As we all know global warming is not just a Scottish problem, it affects the whole planet and this needs to be kept in mind in every area of policy it needs to be sustainable, this is where I believe the SNP's economic policies fall down.

Putting this into a local context it does put the SNP plans to freeze Council tax for the next two years into a different light, it resoundingly gives backup to the suggestion that the reason the SNP in Renfrewshire did not put forward a budget was that they could not stick to this commitment. A more interesting question has to be IF the SNP make up the Executive after May the 3rd will they be able to stick to it then keeping the above in mind? And what does that mean for Scotland in the long term economically speaking?

7 comments:

Rayleen Kelly said...

Donald Maclean said...
I've no real confidence in any of you. Party politics is baby stuff, it's about time we all grew up.

Rayleen Kelly said...

Donald: thanks for visiting my blog I don't allow own blog advertising which is why I have reposted your comment without the link. I have previously advised that I do not blog roll those blogs which I don't perosnally read or agree with.

Donald Maclean said...

Rayleen,
Fair enough, but I presume you don't mind comment or constructive criticism? Whether you link to my blog via comment or otherwise doesn't concerm me greatly, so perhaps I can use some comment from that article?
'If the SNP had half an ounce of sense they would run on one policy and one policy only. 'Independence, then we'll p*ss off'.
But they don't, they pretend they're capable of running a country. This is patently not true; as a party, they are not fit for purpose, and the quality of their personnel is lamentable. They have no policies which bear up to any kind of scrutiny, hostile or otherwise.
We need a set of New Generation politicians in Scotland who will work for the electorate, rather than treating their paymasters as scum. We should outlaw career politicians, as these people have only one priority; themselves. We should encourage people with 'real life' backgrounds into politics, not necessarily from the business world.'
'Instead of decrying Holyrood and its cost, we should see it as a powerful tool we can use to devolve power further from Westminster. It could be argued that if Holyrood gained in stature and power, that it might attract more quality candidates, that less quality might flow by default to the trough in the south. I think it would also be advisable to have an elected second chamber in Holyrood, same building please, no extra cost.'
'The most obvious obstacle to the path of independence is the blight of the self flagellants; the unionists. As they have it; we are incapable, we are destitute, we are unworthy, we can't go it alone. If it wasn't so important it would be laughable, some kind of kilted Monty Python sketch. How do these people sleep at night, how can they live with themselves?'
Not everyone is content to keep living in the yah, boo, sucks! world of party politics. Do you never get tired of just slating the other lot?

Rayleen Kelly said...

Donald: Thanks for getting back to me. The issue of unionists suggesting that Scotland CANNOT go it alone is one that the Nationalists have dreamt up, they suggest that by us saying that Scotland will be worse off through independence means that Scotland would become a third world country, it is not the same thing.

I am not slating the ingenuity of the Scottish People the nationalist view that Scotland would be better off under independence is lies, plain and simple. It is a ruse to try and get votes, I prefer to tell the truth, that there is a deficit and it is something that they need to address, they need to tell us how they intend to plug this gap keeping in mind this takes into account the oil revenue.

The main problem that I have found with the nationalists is that they do not properly cost the policies they have, both nationally and locally, they simply say what they want because they don't have the responsibility to carry out the policies, and hopefully they never will.

Rayleen Kelly said...

Shotgun: there is not an alleged hole in the finance there is a proven hole in the finance, look again at the sums on the original post. Also how do you know they would be borrowing less? Explain, and remember always show your work.

Donald Maclean said...

Rayleen,
It's very difficult to estimate whether Scotland would be economically better off or not if it detached from the UK.There are no publicly available accurate and comprehensive figures, and in any case there would be many 'feelgood' factors that would kick in post-independence. It would really be up to the Scots and the quality of its politicians. However, I think it's about more than economics. It's about self respect, a desire to run one's one affairs.
I think many people's patience with the SNP is running out, but not because they don't want independence. It's because they are beginning to see new ways of separation from Westminster through the Holyrood door. Of course, Labour can take credit for that, so more power to Holyrood's elbow!

shotgun said...

Shotgun said...
So there is an alleged hole of £4.5billion hole in the SNP economics policies...and remind us of just how much Brown has to borrow? It is the highest figure in history...so what relevance does the SNP borrowing less have?

15/2/07 23:14

WEB DISCLAIMER

Please note all postings on this blog are of a personal nature and do not reflect the opinions of either Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Labour Party or Renfrewshire Labour Group. NB No annonymous comments will be published on this blog if you have something to say have the courage to identify yourself.