IFS accuses SNP of misusing figures to push for full fiscal autonomy

SNP had previously accused Westminster of misrepresenting Scotland's finances


As Left Foot Forward reported yesterday, the SNP have brought forward an amendment to the Scotland Bill that would provide full fiscal autonomy (FFA) for Holyrood.

The amendment would allow the Scottish parliament to remove the reservation on taxation, borrowing and public expenditure, enabling them to legislate for FFA.

In a statement, SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP accused Tory and Labour politicians of trying to block the additional powers by misrepresenting Scotland’s financial position:

“The IFS figures they cite suggest that Scotland would have a deficit of £7.6 billion in 2015-16. But over the five years to 2013-14, the UK’s cumulative deficit has been worth over £600 billion.”

But according to the IFS, it is actually the SNP who are misusing figures. Speaking to the Financial Times(£), programme director Gemma Tetlow said:

“Our figures are not that Scotland’s borrowing [under the SNP’s plans] would be £7.6bn in 2016-17. Our figures suggest £14.2bn.”

As the FT reports, the IFS say that FFS would create a deficit of 4.6 per cent of national income in five years – equivalent to £8.9bn. According to the SNP, not only is this figure sustainable, it is comparable to past deficits run by UK governments.

Angus Robertson said yesterday that:

“The UK has been in deficit in 43 of the last 50 years. On the basis of the Tory and Labour argument, the UK can’t afford to be fiscally autonomous. This figure also implies that a fiscally autonomous Scotland would continue to stick with the current Tory spending plans, which clearly it would not.”

But in a report also published yesterday, the IFS refuted this:

“There have been very few years when the UK has run a deficit as large as 4.6 per cent of national income. In fact, this has only happened during the recent crisis period, the recession of the early 1990s, and the troubled times of the mid- to late 1970s.

“Furthermore, were the UK to run borrowing at this level, debt would be likely to continue rising over the longer term, rather than falling.”

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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40 Responses to “IFS accuses SNP of misusing figures to push for full fiscal autonomy”

  1. Angus Ogg

    And the IFS isn’t a right-leaning organisation that’s just a biased mouthpiece for the Brits. It’s always truthful, reliable, and states only the facts…said nobody ever.

  2. gunnerbear

    If the Scots were so confident that they could survive independence they’d have voted for full independence….not a case of “Mum….Dad….I’m moving out but you will keep paying for me won’t you….” It would be excellent if Scotland gets FFA and then we can turn off the money tap so that if the Scots want more spending per head in Scotland…..they’ll be the ones paying for it…….not pensioners in Grimsby and Hull. Perhaps it’s time for England to have a vote on the future of the Union – ohh, silly me….we’re going to have one when we have the EU vote. Can you imagine it when the English vote to get out of the EU and the Scots demand to be ruled from Berlin.

  3. Scottish Scientist

    Entrepreneurs will not be afforded autonomy, fiscal or otherwise, in Scotland because no-one in Scotland gets out from under the misrule of the thin-skinned police state that will countenance no rival, competent leadership of the key economic institutions such as the Scottish universities, banks, legal system etc.

    Sure there is an argument that more could be done with full fiscal autonomy, if that included the powers for the Scottish government to manage a Scottish budget deficit, with agreed, limited borrowing and money printing powers.

    But when there is no academic freedom and no civil liberties and the police state in Scotland can smash down the doors of private enterprise to take away the means of production, then everything else the Scottish government might do with new powers pales into insignificance.

    And when the Scottish political class including the SNP is subordinate to the independence of the costumed, jock-boot police state wherein macho managers can call police or lawyers to drive out the most talented Scots off the campus, the workplace or out of the country then everything else is secondary.

    Scotland is not a free country, meaning the citizens have no rights nor democratic freedoms but are subjected to tyranny, and until the Scottish government start addressing that number one problem the Scottish economy will flounder.

    And it’s not a question of “exaggerating the difficulties”, Mr Robertson.

    If we the people of Scotland had real personal and economic freedom in our daily lives, I am very confident we could do very well indeed.

    But there has been no exaggeration of the difficulties imposed by the gangsters who run the UK police state in Scotland and the failure of all Scottish political parties to address the issue and come up with a solution.

  4. Jim Bennett

    No axe to grind there then!

  5. Jim Bennett

    I’d happily be ruled from Berlin. Wonderful city! London, however, is a smelly shite heap who’s tube system makes my bogies go black.
    Mind you, I do have a soft spot for Hull: first place I ever had curry sauce and chips. So, I’ll happily take their pensioners financial contribution to pay for my free prescriptions in compensation for the health damage they did to me!

  6. gunnerbear

    Great answer! Still, that’s why the made the 50p the shape that they did….so you can take it out of a Scotmans hand with a spanner.

  7. Jim Bennett

    hahaha…very good!
    However, you’ll not be laughing when we invade and force feed you haggis and porridge and make you drink Irn Bru till you get diabetes!!

  8. gunnerbear

    Irn Bru isn’t bad but haggis is vile. I’ve always presumed that porridge was the Scottish equivalent of mortar for building walls with.

  9. Scottish Scientist

    I have the high privilege and the distinct honour of grinding the axe of the people of Scotland.

  10. Angus Ogg

    You said “If the Scots were so confident that they could survive independence they’d have voted for full independence”… if we’d applied the same rules to Scotland’s independence referendum that the xenophobic English plan for the EU referendum i.e. need to be born here, then the YES vote would have won 65/35. But you know that, of course.

  11. gunnerbear

    Actually, I thought Ol’ Cast Iron got it spot on – ban expats from voting…..heh..heh..heh knowing that will p**s of the Jocks who will whine on and on….and take it out on the Labourites………and then whilst annoying the Jocks, point out as PM, how much extra cash the Scots get and how left wing they are and how they live off subsidies from the English…….thus enraging the English that have to pay for the Scots to live in the lap of luxury….thus sucking up more Conservative voters……

  12. bob

    who are you?

  13. bob

    you sound angry? and a bit childish.

  14. bob

    What a load of pathetic, childish, deluded crap. Go tell tht to people living in Syria, Zimbabwe etc.. and grow up. Honestly, you cybernats have alot of nonsense going through your little brains, if your life is crap, and youre a loser, thats youre fault, nobody elses so stop boring everyone else and get a grip.

  15. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    Native Scots voted for indy your expats bottled it.

  16. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    it also calculated Scotland defict in relation the UK being in surplus not compared to Scotland and a difference between a zero deficit. Bunch o chisilers

  17. Scottish Scientist

    So, Bob, let me see if I understand you correctly.

    Do you think it is the fault of those who walk a righteous path in life and for their selfless service to mankind suffer a cruel injustice by the state? According to you, it’s only the victim’s fault?

    Do you dare to sneer at the victim of injustice, blame the victim only for his or her fate and not the perpetrators of the injustice?

    I stand with the victims of all injustices the world over, in Syria, Zimbabwe, Scotland or wherever you are, Bob. I do not sneer at those victims, Bob, and neither should you.

    On sneering, from the Bible, Luke 23.

    “When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.

    But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

    And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One”

  18. gunnerbear

    I’m not bothered how the Scots voted….we’ll end up paying for them if they go indie to keep them afloat (just as we gave Ireland a huge wedge to keep it afloat to stop Northern Ireland being too damaged by it’s neighbour and the same would be true of the Scots.

  19. TwilaMJackson

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  20. Tom

    Labour should be putting a lot less emphasis on the fiscal autonomy figures. Yes, the SNP will try to manipulate them. But, also obviously, Scotland would more than stand on its own two feet if financially independent. Like the rest of the UK. Scotland would flourish with smart government investment and regulation, even if the initial period would be trickier than normal.

    I would really hope that, by now, ScotLab figures have worked out the need to talk positively about Scotland’s potential…

  21. EsterDWallace

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  22. bob

    Who’s talking about sneering? and when you say i sneer at victims, when did i do that? typical hysterical snp, you talk so much rubbish, you dont hold some moral highground and youre no better than me for having a difference of opinion. The irony is that people like you think you’re so clever but actually you’re so intollerant of other peoples opinions on things, youre just a small minded bigot.

  23. bob

    wow, you’re a real big man, very brave and everyone else who disagrees with you isnt? lol, you sound like a right nutter! get back to living in your little head.

  24. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    Bob the only man you ever met with leftfoot and mouth disease lol

  25. Scottish Scientist

    “if your life is crap, and youre a loser, thats youre fault, nobody elses so stop boring everyone else and get a grip” – Bob

    That reads like you are indeed sneering at my suffering and loss at the brutal hands of the UK police state in Scotland, Bob.

  26. bob

    And i sneered at people suffering in Syria when exactly?? you snp nutters are very good at talking rubbish and accuse people nonsense so people dont focus on your opinions. As for your suffering at the hands of the UK police state in Scotland……you really do sound crazy, get on with your life child.

  27. Scottish Scientist

    This is what I wrote Bob.

    “I stand with the victims of all injustices the world over, in Syria, Zimbabwe, Scotland or wherever you are, Bob. I do not sneer at those victims, Bob, and neither should you.”

    Now I didn’t imply that you were sneering at people suffering in Syria bob but that you ought not to sneer at any victims of injustice anywhere the world over.

    In other words you seemed to be picky about the victims whose suffering you acknowledge and those you sneer at – it seems to depend with you on what country a victim is in as to what attitude you take – to sneer or not to sneer, should be a question of geography.

    I’m not in the SNP and neither am I a “nutter” or “crazy” because I have suffered and other people have suffered far worse at the hands of the UK police state, in Scotland and elsewhere under UK misrule.

    Perhaps next you will tell the family and friends of the late Mr Bayoh who died at the hands of the police in Scotland to “get on with” their lives?


    We are getting on with our lives bob. If the police abuse people it’s with them for life, that’s what their life is from then on, a lifetime of opposition to police brutality.

    Oh and by the way, if the police didn’t abuse people so much in this country and this country was better run as a result, we could do a lot more to help the people of Syria and Zimbabwe.

  28. bob

    Well let me correct you on everything you just said. You did imply it by talking about sneering, and then IMPLYING by stating that i shouldnt SNEER also, perhaps you need to take some English lessons to understand how the language can be used. As for being picky about victims of injustice, i implied (please note, on understanding English and how to IMPLY something) that people in Syria inparticular have it far worse than we do, and i’m sure most grown up people would agree. And on the last thing you said about the UK police state and misrule, this is where you start to sound a bit silly and childish so i’m not going to lower myself to your silly level by responding to it.

  29. bob

    LOL, uk police state LOL, what is wrong with your life to be thinking crap like that.

  30. bob

    lefties are just seriously deluded, childish people who instead of being intelligent hard working are just people who want someone to blame, someone to moan at, someone to sponge off. moan moan moan, where are the grown ups with sensible ideas

  31. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    My logo should of been a give away its YES to independence nothing to do with the hopeless English left and far left.

  32. Scottish Scientist

    You are sneering again bob. It’s not nice and it’s not clever.

  33. bob

    ‘Native Scots voted for indy your expats bottled it’, how do you know that? and how is it ‘bottling it’? thats just a little bit childish, and just the sort of thing lefties say because theyre hysterical, deluded people.

  34. bob

    not sneering, but i am laughing at you for being so pathetic.

  35. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    as you admit i’m not on the left or anywhere near it.

  36. bob

    If you’re not a leftie, then perhaps your your comments should be a little more sensible and grown up, and behave like your educated by writing sensible reasons as to why people voted no, instead of sounding like ‘ expats bottled it UG UG-DUHHH

  37. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    I know it because the Edinburgh university study said native Scots did vote by a 6% margin to leave. Conversations with your oh so brave expats revealed they just didnt have the courage to vote yes. Perhaps your better off without them in that case.

  38. bob

    whats all this ‘brave’ crap youre talking about? are you 13 years old and just watched braveheart? oooooo they voted no they musnt be BRAVE lol. grow up?

  39. Keith Muir, Edinburgh

    they voted no they musnt be BRAVE congrats you just contradicted yourself.
    From your behaviour I very much doubt your far out of short trousers but good luck irritating lefties someone needs to.

  40. bob

    lol, i can just picture you losing you mind because your losing control of what youre saying. you say i just contradicted myself? this is typical snp leftie behaviour it goes like this- you talk crap, get questioned about it, respond with more crap, questioned again, then you tell people theyve contradicted themselves when clearly they havent (the comment, typed as if you were saying it and clearly sarcastic to the understanding of a grown up) you do this because youre not intelligent enough to have a balanced opinion.

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