'Fiscal autonomy will boost investment, jobs and public spending'
By Fiona MacGregor
Two of Scotland's leading economists have said fiscal autonomy will boost the nation's long-term economy by encouraging investment, creating employment, and allowing for more efficient public spending.
In a letter to the Scotsman newspaper, Professor Andrew Hughes-Hallett, of George Mason University, and Professor Drew Scott, of the University of Edinburgh, reject a report in that paper that a fiscally autonomous Scotland within a wider sterling area would have no ability to determine its own tax and spending policies. The professors write that claim is "simply wrong".
Instead, they say: "Fiscal autonomy would provide a Scottish Government with the fiscal policy levers it needs in order better to encourage investment, create employment and maximise the efficiency of public spending. All of this will contribute to raising the underlying long-term growth potential of the economy..."
The economists stress the need for appropriate and disciplined fiscal policies to bring success, but emphasise that "fiscal autonomy should not be equated with fiscal indiscipline, fiscal impotence or fiscal autarky."
And they say that establishment of an independent Fiscal Policy Commission by the Scottish Government will help ensure the long-run sustainability of Scotland's fiscal policy, as has happened in the EU’s most successful economies (Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden), where such commissions have already been established.
Profs Hughes-Hallet and Scott conclude that fiscal autonomy for Scotland will: "Provide (the) government with the economic policy levers needed to manage the economy responsibly, this being particularly important during periods of economic turmoil such as we are currently experiencing."
The Herald reports that the Yes campaign has been “boosted” after the chief executive of insurance giant Aviva said the referendum was not an issue for his company. Mark Wilson, whose firm employs 2500 staff north of the Border, said last night: "We operate all around the world and in many jurisdictions and in many places so I really think that's not an issue for us to focus on."
Mark Wilson, Chief Executive of the UK's biggest insurance company, Aviva "We operate all around the world and we operate in many jurisdictions and in many places"
It has long been apparent that the No campaign is characterised by unashamed, relentless negativity – what else would we expect from an outfit that refers to itself as “Project Fear”?
British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh – Independence “positive”
British Airways boss Willie Walsh was announcing his company’s annual profits this morning. Interviewed on BBC, he was asked about the prospect of a Yes vote. “If anything, it [Scottish independence] will be slightly positive since we believe it will abolish air passenger duty” said Mr Walsh.