Euan’s Ramblings: collected for reference

Posted by Euan Bennet on 26/08/2014

Since I’ve started using Twitter properly, a lot more traffic has been coming to the blog. So now seems like a good time to post a summary of my articles so far. There are two reasons for this: 1) so that people can easily see what I’ve written about in case they want to read more (i.e. they haven’t been chased off by the first thousand words they encounter in any given article), and 2) so that I can quickly and easily find what I’ve written when I need to send the link to someone. Greg’s system has worked pretty well for me finding specific posts of his, so I’m going to shamelessly copy him.

Some of these posts are a year old so there may be better sources to link to now. However, everything was correct at the time of writing.

  • Pensions – a short post pointing towards the relevant information that was established last year about pensions. The scare stories that are still brought out occasionally are just wrong.
  • Comparisons of democracy – my most-read piece for a while (read by over seven people!!), seeing democracy in the UK and Scotland compared to comparable nations is equally surprising and shocking.

All I ask is that people make a properly informed decision after impassively examining the evidence. My mission statement for the blog was to provide sources for people to decide for themselves, and inhabit the niche of evidence-based decisions. We need to get away from politicians lecturing us from pedestals and use the available information to decide for ourselves.

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3 thoughts on “Euan’s Ramblings: collected for reference

  1. Richard

    Hi Euan, enjoyed reading the article on post indie extra benefit to the economy. I have a question you may have some detail on. The difference between GDP and GNI of Scotland is about £20 billion so the wealth generated remaining in Scotland lower than total GDP. This is to do with headquarters of the large Scottish industries being outside opt Scotland in the main. I reckon “tax” on profits leaving Scotland to current UK treasury and returning via Barnett sort of balances this. Post Indie it’s about £2.8 billion tax on the economic activity, on wealth created in Scotland that will be paid to rUK treasury and of course, not return. (The likes of Deageo and the oil companies etc) What is your much more knowledgable and considered view on this downside? Of course, with all change there are pluses and minuses but I haven’t really seen this topic explained easily? You may have done so in the past, so apologies if you have. Will put my mind at ease….

    Reply
    1. juanbonnets Post author

      Hi Richard, I’m not sure on the specifics nor where the £20billion figure comes from. Google is not my friend today apparently. What I do know is that the Barnett formula doesn’t take this into account – all it does is allocate “identifiable expenditure” for Scotland (and Wales, and Northern Ireland) based on identifiable expenditure made in England. It’s nothing to do with how much tax take there is in each country.

      As I understand it, estimating GDP and GNI for Scotland is an exercise in illustrative examples rather than a precise calculation: no one can make a proper calculation of these values while the UK Treasury takes in all our revenues, because they don’t identify many revenues by country, including VAT and corporation tax. The GERS reports that are accepted by both sides are also just an illustrative example (and everyone acknowledges this) – the links I provided in my article demonstrate how the GERS numbers underestimate Scotland’s revenues in many areas, yet still show that we pay in a larger share of UK revenues than the share of “identified spending” that we get back.

      The wider principle of wealth being removed from the country is an important point. At the moment nearly all of Scotland’s wealth is being collected by Westminster who then decide how much we get back based on how much spending they make in England – it’s a perverse situation that spending has no relation to revenues collected. Focusing on GNI versus GDP is a bit like being unable to see the wood for the trees – the underlying issue is economic mismanagement by Westminster.

      With independence of course there would continue to be a fraction of wealth leaving Scotland due to foreign-owned companies, but the vast majority of our wealth will stay in Scotland (instead of going straight into the UK Treasury as it does at the moment). Independence gives us the opportunity to address the wider principle of wealth being removed from Scotland by the already-wealthy, and put policies into practice that will share Scotland’s vast wealth more equally. There are various different policies proposed which will address this, and we will be able to choose the best party for the job in the first independent elections.

      The bottom line is that under the Union, we have absolutely no say in the policies which have created the situation of many foreign-owned companies taking wealth out of Scotland. With independence, we will have the powers of a normal country to make our wealth work for our people.

      Reply
      1. Richard

        Thanks Euan, yes I recognise it’s inexact and yes, I was basically referring to the wider principle of wealth leaving Scotland. I see that it currently goes to headquarters all over the world but a large chunk to London area based companies like Deageo etc. The profit in tax to the UK treasury and it roughly returns. This is the portion I was thinking about and reckoned at about £2.8 billion, with some help and google research.. I see your points as to how that could be redressed but I’m one of those people who always studies the downside as well as the upside of a decision (there are very few decisions that only have positives-even buying an ice cream means you are left with less potential spending, but a lovely ice cream 🙂 ).

        Companies like Deageo and there are many more are not likely to relocate in Scotland unless forced to by possibly overly robust govt policy? They have brands all over the world… It’s an interesting one. Maybe you can research a bit more because you seem to understand this stuff much better than I do! Much better! The GDP GNI estimates I used came from Glasgow Uni professors research. Think you’ll get it on google but not easy to get through the press take on it rather than raw research findings… Many thanks for the reply btw! Helped me understand alternative options to what is in place now.

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