How will the Scottish budget evolve?

Powers that be and powers to come In the coming Session, the Scottish Parliament will have at its disposal the most extensive set of financial powers and responsibilities since 1999.  Once all the powers provided for in the Scotland Act 2016 are in place, tax revenues will make up broadly 50% of devolved spend (using […]

What next for council tax?

The present council tax system Council Tax is the system of local taxation that is used to part-fund local authorities.  It was introduced in 1993 to replace the Community Charge (known as the “poll tax”) and has remained unchanged since its introduction.  The rate of tax payable is based on the value of residential property […]

What are the plans for infrastructure in Scotland and how will it be funded?

Investment in the right infrastructure can help grow the economy (LSE 2013). Many governments – including past Scottish Governments – have looked to prioritise infrastructure investment.  It is not just the quantity of infrastructure investment that matters for economic growth, but also the quality (World Bank 2014).  How does the Scottish Government plan to fund […]

What does the future hold for the Scottish economy?

Scotland’s economic challenges  Over the last five years (2011-2015) Scotland’s economy has expanded on average by 1.4% compared to 2.1% across the UK.  The most recent results for 2015 showed Scotland’s economy growing at 1.9% compared to the UK’s economy at 2.3% (Table 1). What might the Scottish economy look like at the end of […]

Where will our jobs come from in the future?

First, the good news.  According to the report ‘Working Futures’[1] published by the UK Government-funded Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), there will be 140,000 more jobs in Scotland in 2022 than in 2012 – a 5% increase.  The four sectors estimated to see the largest increases are health and social work, professional services, construction […]

What is the future of the NHS in Scotland?

Health is always a key political battleground, it is perhaps no surprise, therefore, that this briefing should contain an article on the future of the NHS. However, the NHS is currently facing a number of crosswinds that makes now an important time to consider how it might develop over the course of the next Parliament. […]

How can we tackle in-work poverty?

“For increasing numbers of people in Scotland, and the UK more generally, just getting a job has not meant getting out of poverty.” (Scottish Government 2016) Naomi Eisenstaedt, Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality to the Scottish Government The number of people living in poverty in Scotland fell from 21% of the population in 1999/2000 […]

How will free early learning and childcare increase by 2021?

Nicola Sturgeon has described childcare expansion as, “one of the best investments any government can possibly make” (Scottish Government 2015a). The Scottish Government is committed to increasing the Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to 1,140 hours per year per child by 2021. Currently, 27% of 2-year olds and all 3 and 4-year olds are entitled […]