From the ever-jaundiced Tom Gordon today:
THE Scottish Budget delivered by John Swinney overstates the amount of money going to public services and hides likely cuts to schools, a leading thinktank has said.https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/23196611.ifs-says-scottish-budget-overstates-spending-hides-cuts/
Leading thinktank eh?
The IFS likes to present itself as impartial but the evidence says otherwise.
In August, I wrote:
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has an ‘observation paper’ ie no actual research, just opinion, arguing that the Scottish Government’s plans to standardise care across the country will only make things worse.
Does anyone think that NHS health boards should be broken up and shared amongst local councils? Does anyone think that a national care system should spend extra in some areas and less in others, based on ‘discretion?’
I don’t know who funded this report but it suits the corporate care sector who make billions in the UK, who pay the lowest wages and who avoid tax wherever they can.
We know from the Covid experience that a bit of standardisation, ie raising standards in the private sector, is just what we need.
After the first wave, the charitable MHA with a presence in Scotland did research into its own homes and discovered this: Large numbers of staff could have been unknowingly spreading coronavirus through care homes, according to the UK’s largest charitable care home provider. Data from MHA shows 42% of its staff members who recently tested positive were not displaying symptoms. Nearly 45% of residents who had a positive test were also asymptomatic. The MHA Chief Executive said: I think it’s very difficult not to see that the only real way that this can have come into our homes is through staff picking it up, just through the community contacts they would have had. I think that is what is so hard for all our staff, because they care. But if they don’t know they’ve contracted the virus, how can you manage this?https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52912538
Then a large ONS study of 9 081 care homes in England found this: These emerging findings reveal some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infections amongst residents.These include prevalence of infection in staff, some care home practices such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in London and the West Midlands). There is some evidence that in care homes where staff receive sick pay, there are lower levels of infection in residents. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/impactofcoronavirusincarehomesinenglandvivaldi/26mayto19june2020#main-points
And from Public Health Scotland as early as October 2020:
45.2% of the 275 privately-owned homes had an outbreak compared to 27.9% of the 41 local authority and 12.5% of the 32 voluntary homes.
That, on its own is a shocking comment on the infection control standards in the private homes and a newsworthy note on the performance of the voluntary sector.
90% of the largest 46 homes, with more than 90 residents, had outbreaks. That all of these are owned by large corporations is not reported in the data but given what we know about the demand for profit margins and economies of scale in that sector we can be sure that they are.
That too is a shocking indictment of these corporations. What is required now, going beyond the report, is an investigation of infection control and related matters in these places, including any evidence of careless use of agency staff moving between homes, of insecure contracts causing staff to be fearful of taking time off with symptoms and of failures in training and in the ordering of PPE.
and in March 2021:
Headlining all morning, no doubt three times today on Reporting Scotland, and on the website, selected findings from the Institute for Fiscal Studies:
BBC Scotland offers us these points, 5 days after they were published, just as we enter the first few days of an election campaign dominated by the issue of independence and the growing panic in the Unionist parties at the arrival of another pro-independence party in their life-support system, the regional vote:
The Scottish government’s funding per person is almost 30% higher than the English equivalent, a leading economic research group has said. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said this was mostly due to the Barnett Formula. It also found the Scottish government had used temporary coronavirus funding to pay for some permanent policies.
The IFS announce:
A range of Scottish Election Briefing Notes on tax, benefits and public spending, and the parties plans for the coming parliamentary term. Fiscal devolution and the resulting growing differences in policies compared to the rest of the UK, and the starkly different visions of Scotland’s future set out by the different parties, mean independent and impartial analysis (:-)) is more important than ever before (the Union was so threatened?).
The IFS does not appear to be planning to brief other than in Scotland. Who asked them to do it here?
The Scottish Policy Foundation did. Their leading directors:
Thought: Why do they appear so visibly for us to ‘expose’? Personal vanity, arrogance?
Read this again:
‘Lord Dunlop is a [unelected] Conservative peer in the House of Lords. He was created a [unelected] life peer in 2015 and [yet?] was subsequently appointed Scotland Office Minister.’
In what world is this? Ancient Persia? Westeros? 19th Century Britain? 21st Century Scotland?
Could you find two men more embedded in the British state, more dependent upon its favours, more willing to propagandise on its behalf?
At the very end of the website report, so little read, and, of course, tagged on in one sentence, ‘for balance’ in all the broadcasts:
The SNP’s Kate Forbes, the Scottish government’s finance secretary, said the Barnett Formula was “under attack” by the Westminster government, accusing ministers of “pork-barrel spending” through the levelling up fund. She said: “An independent Scotland would be able to make different choices, and give us all the economic levers needed to grow our economy and to make the public spending choices best suited to Scotland’s interests – such as not spending hundreds of billions of pounds on the Trident missile programme.”