UK Budget: what will it mean for the Scottish Budget?

When the Chancellor Phillip Hammond sits down after delivering his Budget on Wednesday, this will signal the start of the final three weeks of preparations before the Scottish budget is launched on December 14th.

But how will the decisions and announcements made on Wednesday effect the options and choices available to Cabinet Secretary for Finance Derek Mackay in his budget three weeks later?

Continue reading “UK Budget: what will it mean for the Scottish Budget?”

Productivity update

As usual, Wednesday’s labour market figures grabbed the attention of most people with the focus once again on the sustained rise in employment and fall in unemployment over the year.

However with Scotland’s labour market close to ‘record’ levels but more fragile growth in the economy overall, another set of statistics also published on Wednesday laid out the ongoing productivity challenge facing our economy. Continue reading “Productivity update”

Income tax increases on their own are not a solution for Scotland’s spending challenge

The Scottish budget faces a substantial challenge. Between now and the end of the parliament in 2021/22 the resources available to the government are projected to decline by about 3% in real terms.

This might not sound like much. But at the same time as the budget is declining, the health budget (which accounts for almost half of government spending) will increase by 3%. Whilst this might sound generous, a 3% increase is only just sufficient to keep up with a growing and ageing population (notwithstanding the general inflationary pressures facing the health service).

Furthermore, a range of other spending commitments have been made, on services ranging from childcare to policing, tuition fees to care for the elderly. Continue reading “Income tax increases on their own are not a solution for Scotland’s spending challenge”

Outlook for the Scottish Budget – our report in 8 key points

On Tuesday 26 September, we published our report on Scotland’s Budget 2017. Many thanks to those who attended our seminar.

For those unable to come along, or who do not have time to read the full report, here we summarise some conclusions from the sections that looked at the outlook for public spending over the next few years.

A follow-up blog in the coming days will discuss our analysis of longer-term trends. Continue reading “Outlook for the Scottish Budget – our report in 8 key points”