By rosie andrew:
Sunday Times readers have been spared a few weeks of Michael Glackin’s monotonous attacks on the Scottish Government but he’s back to-day with his usual partisan comments on Scotland’s “declining economy” forgetting that the UK economy shrunk by a record 5.8% in March alone.
Prior to Boris Johnson trashing the country, the Scottish economy was predicted to grow by 0.8% GVA in 2020 before picking up to 1.4% in 2021 https://www.ey.com/en_uk/growth/ey-scottish-item-club-winter-forecast-2020
Unlike other oil producing countries, Scotland doesn’t have the powers to diversify by making massive investments in alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/norway-unveils-its-hydrogen-strategy/. And we all remember how Westminster failed to honour its pledge to base a carbon capture and storage plant in Peterhead. Even off shore wind has not produced as many jobs as it should have.
In support of Glackin’s argument, he quotes GMB leader Gary Smith but failed to mention that Alister Jack laughed off questions in February regarding the loss of 1000 Bifab jobs to Indonesia which is featured on the GMB web site. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-7UTWXhUJ0
On 25th March the Institute of Fiscal Studies argued that devolved governments need more flexible funding and greater borrowing power to tackle coronavirus effectively but this too has escaped Michael Glackin’s attention. https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14766.
Glackin claims that the Scottish Government is just talk but just in recent months we have seen:
An independent advisory group was set up on 17 April to provide expert economic advice to the Scottish Government in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The group will provide urgent advice on the private sector and business aspects of the Scottish Government’s economic response. Membership will draw on leading expertise across regions and sectors, led by senior businessman and government strategic adviser Benny Higgins. Renowned academic Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli is one of the first appointees. https://www.gov.scot/news/advisory-group-on-economic-recovery/
On 25 May, Willie Watt of the Scottish National Investment Bank told the Scotsman that its mission will be even more relevant in a post-Covid environment. https://www.scotsman.com/business/big-interview-scottish-national-investment-bank-chair-willie-watt-2863188
The tech sector is crucial to economic recovery and on 10th June Kate Forbes asked former Skyscanner COO Mark Logan to review our ecosystem and report on taking Scottish tech to the next level. 🏽 https://t.co/f91CHqz6YN
Glackin also argues that Scottish government, with limited revenue streams, should cut business rates even further and cancel land and buildings transaction tax for at least a year but forgot to mention that on 11th June the Scottish Government pledged £55 million to help housebuilders and get buyers on property ladder.
As Sunday Times Scotland’s main economic commentator, Michael Glackin has never argued that the Scottish government should have more borrowing and fiscal powers – yet demands that we should be like a normal country.