Thursday, 21 November 2013

IFS Report of 18.11.2013 shows Scotland cannot afford a NO vote.

New Report Illustrates Why We Can’t Afford a No Vote

A report published 18.11.2013 by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) highlights the dangers of continuing to have policies for Scotland decided at Westminster. 

BBC Bias

This directly contradicts BBC News’ and BBC Scotland’s interpretation of the same report which used it as yet another reason to vote No to Scottish independence showing the BBC incapable again of being unbiased and to inform the public only without prejudicing the outcome.

The new study acknowledges that Scotland’s public finances are currently stronger than the UK’s, but then looks at what might happen over the next 50 years under current trends.

Scotland's public finances are stronger than the UK's

In common with almost all developed countries, the UK and an independent Scotland will face pressures caused by increasing longevity and declining fertility rates.  The IFS paints a challenging picture of what our public finances would look like in 50 years “with our current set of tax and spending policies”. 

We need full powers to counteract this fiscal pressure 

That, of course, is precisely why we need a Yes vote – so we have the full powers to build a healthy economy and robust public finances.

The IFS report illustrates exactly why we just cannot afford Westminster “business as usual” with a No vote.

Its starkest warning relates to population changes. 

We cannot afford a NO vote

The report highlights Office for National Statistics projections of population growth for the UK of 22.8% in the period to 2062 – yet for Scotland the figure is just 4.4%.  Even more remarkably, it predicts a decline in population for Scotland in every age group under 65.

Thus the challenge we face is not that the number of older people in Scotland is growing faster than elsewhere in the UK – in fact the opposite is true.  And indeed, according to the IFS report, even in 2062-63 Scotland’s spending on health, long-term care, pensions and non-pension benefits as a percentage of national income would be smaller than for the UK as a whole.

The challenge we face is the loss of working-age people.

The falling number of working-age people has a doubly negative effect.  It means fewer people contributing to the public finances through taxation and national insurance.  And it means slower growth in the economy. 


Nothing inevitable about this and Yes vote means we could decide our own future

There is absolutely nothing inevitable about this.  With a Yes vote we will have full powers to encourage our young people to remain or return and work here.  Our immigration policies and policies to support and encourage families could and must also address this trend.

Page 8 of IFS report says projections are: “…inherently uncertain and could evolve differently if Scotland were independent"

But with Westminster in charge, nothing will be done – Scotland’s priorities aren’t Westminster’s priorities.  We simply cannot afford a No vote.