FAI Commentary: The outlook for the Scottish Budget 2020/21

This blog post contains the policy context chapter of our economic commentary, published today. The latest economic commentary can be found here.

Budget 2020/21 will be the fourth of five to be set in this parliament. Normally of course it would have been published by now – the Scottish Government initially planned to publish it on 12 December – and the process of scrutiny and debate on the proposals contained within it would have begun.

It was inevitable that the announcement of a UK General Election on 12 December resulted in the postponement of the Scottish budget. The outlook for the Scottish budget – and the viability and outcomes of tax and spending policies – is heavily dependent on UK Government policy decisions.

A Scottish budget published in advance of knowing the complexion of the UK Government would have had to be underpinned by a range of caveats and uncertainties, and could have been subject to substantial revision once the UK Government’s plans became known with greater certainty.

The fact that the General Election result last week was so decisive has in a blink lifted much of the uncertainty that it existed, at least in the short run (i.e. for 2020/21).Continue reading

December 17, 2019

Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary for Q4 2019 published today

General election provides moment of clarity amongst recent uncertainty – but debate over Scotland’s economic future likely to intensify in 2020

The Conservative majority means that the UK will leave the EU at the end of January 2020. But SNP gains in Scotland raise prospect of renewed debate on second independence referendum.

Read our latest economic commentary here.

The outcome of the UK General Election has resolved one element of uncertainty in the UK economic policy landscape – the UK will now leave the European Union on the 31st January.

However, any hope of a swift resolution to the recent period of uncertainty is likely to be dashed according to the latest Economic Commentary by the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, which is produced in partnership with Deloitte.

The nature of the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU has still to be resolved within just 12 months, whilst the divergence in election results between Scotland and the rest of the UK has fuelled calls in some quarters for a second independence referendum.Continue reading

Today’s Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary in 10 bullet points

Today we published our final Economic Commentary for 2019.

Here we summarise the key points.

  1. Tomorrow we will get new GDP data for Scotland – covering the 3 month period to September

Chart: Scottish growth since 2014 – year and quarter %

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The latest data suggests that the economy will have bounced back somewhat (and thereby avoid a technical recession) after a slip-back in Q2 – following the unwinding of stock-piles in the run-up to the first Brexit deadline.

It will be important therefore not to read too much into one quarterly set of results. Instead, focus should be on the longer-term. This is likely to show that growth for the year as a whole is expected to come in once again at around 1% – marking a further year of disappointing below-trend growth for the Scottish economy.Continue reading

Latests nowcasts of the Scottish economy

With official estimates of GDP growth in Scotland in Q3 2019 due to be released later this month, we’ve updated our nowcasts for the Scottish economy for Q3 and Q4 2019.

These estimates put growth in Scotland:

  • For 2019 Q3 growth at 0.21% which, at an annual rate, is 0.83%
  • For 2019 Q4 growth is 0.25% which, at an annual rate, is 0.99%

These estimates represent similar estimates to those released last month – and a continuation of the sustained period of weak growth experienced through much of the past few years.

In the last set of official estimates of growth in Scotland, growth in the year to Q2 was 0.6%, included in this estimate was the contraction in GDP in Q2 itself.

The positive growth estimate for Q3 implies that Scotland will not enter recession in 2019.

Taking our estimates for Q3 and Q4 (above) together with the official estimates for 2019 Q1 and Q2, implies economic growth in Scotland of 0.7% between 2019 Q4 and 2018 Q4, or on a 4 quarter on 4 quarter basis, growth is estimated to be 0.8% in 2019.

December 4, 2019

Presentations from Scotland’s Budget Report 2019 Event

On Tuesday we published our fourth annual Scotland’s Budget Report. This was accompanied by an event at the National Museum of Scotland.

Alongside the FAI analysis, Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Andy King from the Office for Budget Responsibility, Caroline Gardner, Scotland’s Auditor General, and Charlotte Barbour, director of taxation for ICAS, also spoke at the event. All discussed the current fiscal environment which is made all the more uncertain by the General Election and the flurry of announcements by all political parties on future spending commitments.

These presentations can be found below.

 

November 15, 2019