Bypassing Barnett


David Eiser

Fraser of Allander Institute


As part of the agreement reached between the Conservatives and DUP, the UK Government has agreed to allocate an additional £1bn to the budget of the Northern Ireland Executive over the next two years. The funding includes £100m to support health service transformation, a further £50m for various ‘immediate’ pressures in health and education, £200m for infrastructure investment and £75m to support ultra-fast broadband. The agreement also includes renewed commitments to devolve Corporation Tax and establish City Deals.

Scottish First Minster Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones have both argued that the additional funding associated with this agreement should go through the Barnett Formula and generate consequentials for the Scottish and Welsh budgets.

Is this a legitimate argument? Continue reading “Bypassing Barnett”

Reduction in net migration: a blessing or a curse?

Katerina Lisenkova

Fraser of Allander Institute


During the 2010 election campaign, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron set the Conservative Party’s migration policy target: to reduce the level of net migration from ‘hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands’.

Since then, net migration increased to an all-time high of 332,000 in 2015. Net migration from EU countries constituted just over 55% of the total (Figure 1).

Uncertainty associated with Brexit appears to have brought an end to this rise – in 2016 net migration registered its sharpest one year decline (25%) in recent history and settled, for now, at 248,000.

It is still well above the ‘tens of thousands’ target; but should we celebrate or worry about this recent change in the trend of net migration? My research shows that a significant reduction in EU immigration would lead, in the long run, to lower GDP per person; which in turn would necessitate higher taxes.

Continue reading “Reduction in net migration: a blessing or a curse?”

Is Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK?

In recent weeks, there has been considerable debate over the government’s decision to freeze the income tax threshold at which taxpayers start to pay the 40% higher rate in Scotland.

This has led the Conservatives to argue that Scotland is now the highest taxed part of the UK.

This blog discusses some of the key issues underpinning this argument and some important questions around interpretation.

  Continue reading “Is Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK?”