GERS day 2: after the hullaballoo

Every year when GERS is published, there is a new angle that seems to gain traction and ignite a debate about the accuracy of the figures.

This year’s is a rather misguided interpretation of the notional net fiscal balance produced in GERS.

These have been variations on:

  • How can 8% of the UK population be responsible for more than 50% of the deficit?
  • And/or how can the Welsh and Scottish deficits add up to more than the UK?

The easiest way to think about this is to consider all 12 areas of the UK together. ONS produces GERS style figures for all 12 “NUTS 1” areas (so Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the 9 regions of England).

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August 22, 2019

Back to school for GERS 2019

Along with the fun of buying new school shoes, August as usual will see the annual publication of the GERS statistics. GERS is scheduled for publication at 9.30 on Wednesday 21st August 2019.

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August 15, 2019

Natural Capital Statistics for Scotland: What do they tell us?

Peter Thorpe is an undergraduate economics student at the University of Strathclyde, about to start his fourth year, and has a summer internship in the Fraser of Allander Institute supported by the Research Interns@Strathclyde scheme.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) series for Scotland. This was a significant step forward and over the years it has helped our collective understanding of the Scottish economy. Since then, many more advances have been made by the team of government statisticians at St. Andrew’s House, with the quality and coverage of economics statistics continuing to improve. Scotland remains the only nation of the UK with a quarterly GDP series.

Earlier this year, an important new addition was made to this stock of information on the Scottish economy, in the form of Scottish specific natural capital accounts.

Policymakers – quite rightly – have an increasing focus on climate change and on Scotland’s natural environment. But such important issues are not typically captured in measures such as GDP.

While experimental, these statistics are useful in analysing where Scottish natural capital currently stands, and developing a better understanding of Scotland’s environment, and the role it plays in the economy.Continue reading

August 2, 2019