A new book examined the economic consequences of Scottish independence. Chapters covered topics including: taxation and government spending; pensions; banking; debt and interest rates; trade borders and currency issues; business perspectives; energy policy; inequality; and migration and labour markets.
Source: David Bell, David Eiser, and Klaus Beckmann (eds), The Economic Consequences of Scottish Independence, Helmut-Schmidt-Universitat/Universitat der Bundeswehr Hamburg
A report outlined the ways in which the Scottish Government planned to use the powers made available through independence (in the event of a 'yes' vote in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence) to create more, and better, job opportunities in Scotland.
Source: A Jobs Plan for an Independent Scotland, Scottish Government
A paper examined recent economic and labour market developments in Scotland, and the future outlook for the country, including the principal short and long-term labour market challenges and opportunities. The paper discussed key Scottish Government priorities, and argued that Scottish independence would provide greater opportunity to build a new economic framework.
Source: Unlocking Scotland's Full Potential: Boosting skills, wages, equality and growth, Scottish Government
A report provided findings from the Working Together Review, which examined how trade unions, private and public sector organizations, academics, and the Scottish Government could work together to support the development of more collegiate working environments. It said that there were already many examples of business- or sector-specific models of modern, co-operative industrial relations, and identified four key themes for action to build on existing practice, as well as thirty more specific recommendations, including: for a new body to provide leadership on industrial relations, share best practice, and explore how to increase levels of workplace democracy across sectors; for union involvement in implementing the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce; for legislation to ensure worker representation on the boards of public sector bodies; for public sector bodies to report (in their annual reports) on their approach to industrial relations; and for union and employer representatives to undertake training to help build up levels of mutual understanding and trust.
Source: Working Together Review: Progressive workplace policies in Scotland, Scottish Government
A report by a committee of MPs said that the forthcoming referendum on Scottish Independence would have an impact on all United Kingdom citizens and businesses, and concluded that the economic interests of Scotland would best be served by remaining part of the UK. The committee had taken evidence on issues within the business area of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and said: that there was no certainty that breaking up the UK single market would have economic benefits; that the United Kingdom and Scottish governments should publish their legal advice on the status of Scotland and the European Union; that there was uncertainty about the provisions for a Scottish currency and that, given the UK government's views on currency union, the Scottish government should now set out its plans for an alternative system; and that charging non-domiciled United Kingdom students attending Scottish universities would be incompatible with European Union membership. The report also discussed research funding, and raised a number of questions about proposals for Scottish postal services.
Source: The Implications of Scottish Independence on Business; Higher Education and Research; and Postal Services, Fourth Report (Session 2014 15), HC 504, House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, TSO
A new book examined the economic and social policies of small northern European states (Nordic and Baltic states, and Ireland), asking what lessons might be learnt for an independent Scotland.
Source: Michael Keating and Malcolm Harvey, Small Nations in a Big World: What Scotland can learn, Luath Press
A report by a committee of MPs said that, in the event of Scottish independence, a currency union would be neither feasible nor desirable for either Scotland or the rest of the United Kingdom. The report said that there would be far-reaching consequences, particularly for the financial services industry in Scotland.
Source: The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: No doubt no currency union, Third Report (Session 201415), HC 499, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, TSO
The Scottish Government published the final report from the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce. The report focused on the enhancement of the status of vocational education, and on the engagement of business and industry with schools and colleges. It made a wide range of recommendations for schools, colleges, and employers, including for encouraging and supporting employers to recruit more young people, and for addressing equalities issues across gender, Black and minority-ethnic groups, disabilities, and for care leavers.
Source: Education Working For All! Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce Final Report, Scottish Government
A paper examined how, in an independent Scotland, future governments could reindustrialise the economy through a strategy focussed on strengthening manufacturing, promoting innovation, and encouraging international trade and investment.
Source: Reindustrialising Scotland for the 21st Century: A sustainable industrial strategy for a modern, independent nation, Scottish Government
Two reports examined the medium-term forecasts for public finances in an independent Scotland, and considered the independence white paper in the context of those forecasts. The work was based on forecasts from the United Kingdom's Office for Budget Responsibility.
Source: David Phillips and Gemma Tetlow, Taxation, Government Spending and the Public Finances of Scotland: Updating the medium term outlook, Institute for Fiscal Studies
Source: David Phillips and Gemma Tetlow, Policies for an Independent Scotland? Putting the Independence White Paper in its fiscal context, Institute for Fiscal Studies
A report examined predicted demographic trends in Scotland and the potential implications for Scottish independence. It said that by 2037 the working age population was expected to reduce by 3.5 per cent, and that Scotland would need to support longer working lives and address disability-free life expectancy levels for males in Scotland, which were four years shorter than the United Kingdom as a whole. The report said that the dependency ratio (the ratio of non-working age people to working age) would rise by 40 per cent in Scotland (compared with 30 per cent in the UK) at the same time as oil and gas revenues were anticipated to fall, and that this was likely to place pressures on government spending and taxation.
Source: Ben Franklin, Scottish Independence: Charting the implications of demographic change, International Longevity Centre – UK
A report examined recent trends in Scotland's public finances and the fiscal position of Scotland in coming years. It said that Scotland would have a sustainable fiscal position in 2016-17, with key fiscal aggregates similar to, or stronger than, both the United Kingdom and the G7 group of industrialized countries as a whole. The report examined a range of economic projections and said that, by using powers of independence to grow the economy, Scotland's revenues could increase by £5 billion per year by 2029-30. The United Kingdom Government published, on the same day, a Treasury paper that examined fiscal policy and sustainability in an independent Scotland, and said that Scotland's public finances would be stronger if the country remained as part of the UK.
Source: Outlook for Scotland's Public Finances and the Opportunities of Independence, Scottish Government
Links: Report | Scottish Government press release | UK Treasury report | HM Treasury/Scotland Office press release | SNP press release | SNP press release | LSE blog | BBC report | BBC report | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
A paper examined the outlook for Scotland's public finances and the financial implications of Scottish independence. It said that the public finances of Scotland would be substantially stronger if the country remained as part of the United Kingdom. The paper said that lower taxes and sustained public services as part of the United Kingdom would be worth around £1400 per person per year over the twenty years following 2016-17. The Scottish Government, on the same day, published a report that examined fiscal forecasts for an independent Scotland, and said that the powers of independence could be used to grow the economy, such that revenues could increase by £5 billion per year by 2029-30.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Fiscal policy and sustainability, Cm 8854, HM Treasury, TSO
Links: Report | HMT/Scotland Office press release | Chief Secretary's speech | Scottish Government report | Scottish Government press release | SNP press release | SNP press release | LSE blog | BBC report | BBC report | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
A report provided an overview of the national reform plan to support delivery in Scotland of the Europe 2020 targets in five policy areas: employment; education; research and innovation; social inclusion and poverty reduction; and climate/energy.
Source: Europe 2020: Scottish National Reform Programme 2014, Scottish Government
An article examined support for enterprise in Scotland, including the small loans and grants available to people in deprived communities.
Source: Neil McHugh, Morag Gillespie, Jana Loew, and Cam Donaldson, 'First steps towards self-employment microcredit for enterprise in Scotland', Scottish Affairs, Volume 23 Issue 2
The Scottish Government published a new youth work strategy and implementation plan.
Source: Our Ambitions for Improving The Life Chances of Young People in Scotland: National Youth Work Strategy 2014-2019, Scottish Government/YouthLink Scotland/Education Scotland
An interim report by a committee of MPs said that the United Kingdom Government's consultation on zero hours contracts was too narrow. Acknowledging that this type of contract could give benefits both to employers and employees, it said that, too often, the relationship was unbalanced, leaving the employer with flexibility and few costs while the worker could be left without access to due rights of employment and, in some cases, paid less than the minimum wage. The report said that the government needed to do more to protect workers who wished to challenge unfair, unsafe, or unlawful conditions of employment.
Source: Zero Hours Contracts in Scotland: Interim report, Tenth Report (Session 201314), HC 654, House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee, TSO
A report examined the implications of Scottish independence for businesses. It set out a number of benefits, costs and risks for Scottish businesses in four areas: funding costs; corporation tax; trade; and private pensions. It concluded that, although an independent Scottish economy could thrive, and the overall impact would vary by sector and size of business, there would be one off and ongoing costs and uncertainties and fewer, more uncertain, benefits.
Source: The Potential Implications of Independence for Businesses in Scotland, Oxford Economics
A government paper examined the implications of independence for Scotland's economy and how this would impact on Scotland's macroeconomic framework choices, including its choice of currency. It discussed the impact of currency union (where Scotland retained sterling as its currency) for the rest of the United Kingdom and concluded that the Treasury would advise the UK government against entering into a currency union with an independent Scotland.
Source: Scotland Analysis: Assessment of a sterling currency union, Cm 8815, HM Treasury, TSO