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Scottish Independence: Weighing Up the Economics [Paperback]

Gavin McCrone
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2013
In autumn 2014 those living in Scotland will face the most important political decision of a lifetime. Whether Scotland becomes an independent state once again, as it was before 1707, or remains within the United Kingdom will have profound consequences for everyone in Britain. There are many issues involved in this important choice, but a key part of the debate centres around the question of whether Scotland would prosper more or less after independence. How well off are we? Would we have a faster or slower growing economy if we were independent? What currency would we use - the pound, the euro or a new currency of our own? What should our energy policy be? There are those who would like to see a more egalitarian society, like Scandinavia, with a reduction in poverty and deprivation; would we be likely to achieve that? Would we continue to be in the European Union but with Scotland becoming a member in its own right? Is that right for Scotland and what problems might that involve? In this impartial, clearly expressed and thought-provoking book, economist Gavin McCrone addresses these, and many other, questions which are of vital importance in the run up to the referendum.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (1 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178027159X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780271590
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Gavin McCrone has studied , written and lectured about the Scottish economy over a period of many years. For over two decades he was Chief Economic Adviser to successive Secretaries of State for Scotland. He was successively head of two Scottish Government Departments - the Industry Department for Scotland and the Scottish Development Department.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gavin McCrone was for 20 years Chief Economic Adviser to Secretaries of State for Scotland. He is now Professor of Economics at Edinburgh University Business School. He writes, “This is not a book beholden to either the independence or the ‘Better Together’ campaigns; its purpose has been to set out the issues for both independence and a greater degree of devolution so that people can better understand what would be involved before voting.”

Scotland’s output per head has recently improved compared to Britain as a whole. Its public spending per head has been above the British average since at least the 1960s. The Scottish government’s figure is 14 per cent more in 2011-12 for identifiable spending only (that is, excluding defence, national debt interest and international services). Scotland’s revenues roughly equal its population share of Britain. All this produced a Scottish deficit of 5 per cent in 2011-12, which is unsustainable (even including a geographical share of North Sea revenues).

North Sea oil production peaked in 1999, gas in 2000: both are now at less than half their peaks. North Sea revenues were 6.5 billion in 2009-10, 8.8 billion in 2010-11, 11.3 billion in 2011-12, and 6.5 billion in 2012-13. The GDP from oil and gas includes profits going to foreign oil companies.

He notes, “Oil & Gas UK announced in April 2013 that production is expected to increase to some 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent compared with 1.5 billion in 2013. This follows a big increase in investment by the oil companies, notably BP in its Claire Ridge project, a major field that should be in production until 2050. Nevertheless, over the long term, the decline in output of both oil and gas is expected to continue at a gradual rate, despite these developments.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A clear readable analysis of the important issues surrounding the case for and against independence. Let no-one claim that there is insufficient information about the choices facing voters in Scotland in the 2014 referendum unless and until they have read this admirably succinct book
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By Stepas
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I felt I needed to understand the issues more surrounding Scottish Independence before the referendum and so I downloaded this book. Gavin McCrone has written an excellent, thought-provoking book. He sets out both sides of the argument and it is clear when he expresses his own personal view. As the former Chief Economist in the Scottish Office, he has a depth of information and gives in an insight into how things have changed since the 1970's.

This book is not just about the referendum. He usefully highlights what could happen if there is not a vote in favour of independence. He explains the terms Devo-Max and Devo-Plus and what their implications for Scotland would be; for example - "Devo-Max offers the opportunity for greater independence in economic policy but would probably provoke major resistance from other parts of the indendepence, it would end the social pact with the rest of the UK. whereby there is a pooling of resources to achieve equality of social provision".

As much of the independence debate revolves around North Sea Oil, he discusses it in some depth. It is interesting to know that there is no clear accepted division of these oilfields with the different parts of the UK. He discusses the various possible solutions but recognises that in the end it will be down for negotiation.

He covers Scottish financial expenditure and possible future tax policy. He highlights that Scotland would have "serious difficulty in funding its above-average level of public expenditure" unless it gets sufficient share of the North Sea oil fields. He highlights that if "personal taxation was different from the rest of the UK, there would be a risk that some people would vote with their feet and move either to or from Scotland".
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A detailed consideration of the background, economic history and associated issues relevant to a future independent Scotland. The author displays an amazing knowledge of Scottish and world economic facts which he brings into the debate. Are his views totally neutral - probably not , but this book is as unbiased as you are going to get.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I keep hearing people complaining there is no unbiased information on which to decide their vote for independence (or not)for Scotland - here you are! With no theatrical scaremongering or claymore swinging Professor McCrone clearly and succinctly lays out the questions facing Scottish voters and the potential problems and outcomes. It is not simplistic but readable with a degree of concentration. What we need now is for someone to take this approach and turn it into a television documentary to be accessible to all?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Unlike the EU in out debate for the UK - There are many books for and against independence now on sale
What I wanted was a book that impartially set out the case for or not - and this book does it very well
I started out with my heart being strongly for and my wallet against.
This book explores the various economic strands relevant to the independence debate
eu in or out (and if after the UK leaves what then) what is the right split of north sea oil
I think everyone should read this and to be better equipped to ask the right questions - the problem will be to get the
politicians on either side to give a straight answer
Thanks Gavin for a great contribution to this debate
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Has not made me make up my mind, still undecided
Published 11 days ago by Peter Lourie
5.0 out of 5 stars The economics of Independence in Scotland
I have recommended this book to several people, especially to those who think Scotland is the poor man of the UK and depend on the crumbs from Westminster's table.. Read more
Published 2 months ago by elizabeth jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential in making an informed choice.
Very informative with regard to some of the main financial implications of a vote either way. Not being familiar with much of the detail I had to read and re-read many sections but... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr Grumpy
4.0 out of 5 stars Scottish Economics Without the Political Spin
I've tried really hard to read up about independence with books written by people who will give as unbiased a view as possible. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ian Budd
4.0 out of 5 stars Well balanced read
Well balanced view on a very complex subject and reviews every aspect of Scottish Independence. The book gives a good insight into the numerous points of view, both historic and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by jimsimpson
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction
This will be a momentous decision for Scotland and if the vote is 'yes', there will be no going back. Read more
Published 3 months ago by CrazieB
4.0 out of 5 stars A good presentation of economic issues.
This review is of the 2nd edition of the book, published in early 2014, but late enough to include mention of George Osborne’s intervention speech in Edinburgh. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jean Michel
1.0 out of 5 stars So close yet so far
The author wishes to gloss over some points and fails to address other,like business relocation for example Amazon having a major FC in Scotland; they might want to relocate if... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars fairly impartial
if the scots vote for independence it will not be a simple job to seperate Scotland from the UK.
The author is a scot and would like more delegation of power to the Scottish... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert E
4.0 out of 5 stars Still on the fence.
Clear information well presented in bite sized chunks. The author obviously knows his subject. It was helpful to read this book.
Published 4 months ago by santoshima
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