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Scottish Independence: Weighing up the Economics Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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 UK....like 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".Read more ›
During the past 6 months I have read a fair amount in the media and another book on the topic of the referendum on Scottish Independence (Arguing for Independence by Stephen Maxwell); in addition, I have thumbed through and read sections of the Scottish Government’s White Paper, ‘Scotland’s Future;’ which incidentally, you can obtain for free online or by writing in to request a hard copy from the Scottish government.
Unlike some books on the subject, McCrone claims to present an unbiased assessment of the pros and cons of Scottish Independence viewed through the lens of an economist. McCrone’s credentials for this task are excellent, since he spent a large part of his career as a civil servant in Whitehall briefing on economic issues concerning Scotland, followed by an academic career as a Professor of Economics at Glasgow University and more recently at Edinburgh University’s Business School.
Also, whatever McCrone’s personal politics, I should not pay too much heed to reviews that claim he is a mouthpiece for Westminster and/or Whitehall Conservative interests keen to push the Better Together Agenda. This certainly does not come out in his writings, either in this book or in other articles I have read by McCrone in the past few years on this issue. The conspiracy theory about the ‘secret’ McCrone report back in the 1970s does not hold water, since this was an internal government briefing paper (which are often confidential) and as he himself points out in this book, at the time he was acting as Chief Economic Advisor to the Scottish Office and was duty bound to keep it confidential.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think this book should have been essential reading prior to the Independence Referendum. Yes would have won!Published on 21 May 2015 by CW
This was one of my most useful sources of information in the run-up to the Scottish Referendum on Independence in 2014.Published on 14 Mar. 2015 by Grylla S. Noab
Definitive report omn why we should have voted for independence, and a good read too.Published on 1 Feb. 2015 by Neil Anderson
I found this fascinating. Thought it was a balanced vies. Wish others had read more instead of waving flags!Published on 10 Dec. 2014 by Heather Callaghan
Some excellent background information to a debate sadly lacking in factsPublished on 15 Sept. 2014 by Amazon Customer
Really enjoyed this book. Well balanced, easy read which has greatly enhanced my understanding of the economic issues. Everyone would benefit from reading this referendum or not.Published on 3 Sept. 2014 by Ian Buchanan
Excellent and accessible exposition of the underlying economic arguments to consider in grappling with Scottish independence.Published on 28 Aug. 2014 by James Wildgoose
Highly recommended, regardless of how you're going to vote. This is about the most impartial analysis of the referendum debate I have seen so far. Read morePublished on 27 Aug. 2014 by A. Harsono
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