The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government
Show Less

The Political Economy of Financing Scottish Government

Considering a New Constitutional Settlement for Scotland

C. Paul Hallwood and Ronald MacDonald

Can the UK survive widespread dissatisfaction in both Scotland and England with the financing of public spending by Scotland’s parliament? This timely book explains how fiscal autonomy could raise economic growth and efficiency in Scotland – to the benefit of both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. The authors discuss how other reform proposals – which amount to cutting Scotland’s block grant – would fail as they would not be seen in Scotland as legitimate. They conclude that fiscal autonomy would be accepted as it reduces Scotland’s democratic deficit in public spending, and would go a long way toward reducing vertical and horizontal imbalances in the UK.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 6: The Case for Scottish Fiscal Autonomy

C. Paul Hallwood and Ronald MacDonald


In this chapter we discuss the tax, public spending and economic implications for Scotland of fiscal autonomy. By ‘fiscal autonomy’ we mean that Scottish Government and parliament spending would be funded by taxes raised in Scotland or through public borrowing by a Scottish Treasury. Revenue transfers to Scotland under the Barnett, or some other bloc grant, formula would cease; or, at least, would be much reduced. Moreover, to the extent that Scotland benefited from public goods provided by Westminster, Scotland could even pay a levy to Westminster. We discuss two types of fiscal autonomy: (a) within the UK and (b) Scotland as an independent country. With independence, Scotland would gain the ability to issue its own currency, or it would have the freedom to adopt the euro and would be able to vary and have differential VAT rates, which has been used by Luxembourg to a great extent to build its financial sector; otherwise we do not believe the economic benefits of fiscal autonomy to Scotland would differ significantly between the two constitutional arrangements. We continue with the argument that the current bloc grant system is inefficient because it does not require the Scottish Government to balance the benefits of public spending against the pain of financing and it can only be used in a limited way to affect incentives of private sector agents. With deficient incentives political decision makers are unlikely to strive to increase efficiency in the provision of publicly provided goods, or to try to get the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.