Failed businessman's daft taxation plan

Good one Jackson! you should be on stage!

Ludo Thierry:

Couldn’t help but be mightily amused by Fraser of Allander’s beautifully dry demolition job on Jackson Carlaw’s Scottish sub-branch manager campaign around ‘taxation’.

‘Union’ Jacko has come up with a taxation policy to close the income tax ‘gap’ between Scotland and Ukania for those earning between £27,000 and £45,000. Only thing is – it ain’t possible to do this without reducing Scottish revenue receipts by a whopping £270M. FoA trace through Carlaw’s pathetic gibberings and conclude that he must be planning to raise the income tax rate for earners in the Higher Rate band to 42p in the pound – Presumably not quite what Union Jacko had in mind! – Link and snippets below (The FM wasn’t wrong when she dubbed Carlaw’s campaign as “Comedy Gold”) :

Earlier this week, Scottish Conservatives leadership candidate Jackson Carlaw committed to close the income tax gap between Scotland and rUK for those earning between £27,000 and £45,000.

The majority of individuals with income in this range (those with incomes less than £43,430) currently face annual income tax liabilities of up to £150 higher than equivalent counterparts in rUK. But this difference increases rapidly beyond £43,430, reaching £500 at incomes of £45,000

How might Jackson Carlaw’s commitment be implemented in practice?

The obvious way would be to cancel the Intermediate Rate of tax in Scotland (which levies a 21% marginal rate of tax on Scottish taxpayers with income between £25,000 and £43,430 as opposed to the 20% rate prevailing in rUK) and to increase the Higher Rate threshold from £43,430 to £45,000.

If this policy was implemented in 2020/21 it would reduce the government’s income tax revenues by around £270 million (Mr. Carlaw will not be in a position to implement the policy until 2022/23 at the earliest, but we examine the implications in 2020/21 for illustration).

One of the reasons why the policy appears perhaps surprisingly expensive is that the elimination of the intermediate rate and increase in higher rate threshold would also apply to taxpayers with incomes above £45,000….the policy would affect average household incomes at each decile of the distribution. The policy predominantly benefits households in the upper two deciles (i.e. upper fifth) of the distribution.

This result might be seen as puzzling, given the stated aim of the policy to help ‘middle earners’.

• Households in the bottom third of the income distribution contain very few individuals who have taxable incomes above £25,000.
• Those earning below £30,000 gain very little from the policy, as the difference in liability that they face relative to rUK is small.
• The percentage income gains are highest for those with taxable incomes between £43,430 and £45,000 (these individuals are at around the 85th percentile of taxpayers, i.e. they are in the top 15% of taxpayers ranked by income), and these individuals tend to live in households in the top fifth of the income distribution.
• Meanwhile the cash gain for someone with income of £100,000 is the same as someone with income of £45,000.

Hence a policy framed as supporting ‘middle earners’ predominantly benefits households at the top of the distribution of household income.

Of course if the objective is to help ‘middle earners’ but not necessarily those earning above £45,000, then the cut to the intermediate rate could be offset by a further increase in the higher rate, to say 42p. At the moment, it is not clear whether this is what Jackson Carlaw intends.

New building approvals more than 16% faster!

At Holyrood yesterday Graham Simpson MSP (SCAUP) asked for an update on the performance of local authority building verfication services.

The response showed and improvement in the percentage of projects approved within 10 days of compliant details from 72.73% in Q3 2017/18 to 84.78% in Q2 of 2019/20.

This dramatic improvement must have been particularly welcome to builders and to their clients.

I suspect the process will be even faster in England given their less rigorous demands and consequent flooded or burning housing.

Calls for Health Minister to resign, as A&E waiting times fall to Third World levels, are missed by BBC Wales

A person wearing a suit and tie

Description automatically generated
Demand has been really, really tough.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM (Labour) has survived a no-confidence motion in the Welsh Assembly but there have been calls from relatives for him to resign. BBC Wales say they are unaware of the story and, it is rumoured, don’t really care what a Unionist party does anyway.

The December A&E figures have yet to emerge but in November they treated only 74.4% within 4 hours compared to SNP Scotland’s 85.5%. The December figures are already out for Scotland and England, but NHS Wales seems reluctant to reveal their data.

‘There are eight million stories in the naked city. This HAS NOT been one of them really’ BBC Scotland pounce on anything bad about an SNP policy no matter how insubstantial

A screenshot of a newspaper

Description automatically generated
Downing St: Overriding Holyrood opposition to Brexit anyone?

I’ve paraphrased the famous line from the 1948 film, Naked City, for my headline. It makes the obvious point that BBC Scotland had many other options but chose this, on examination, pointless and empty little story because, regardless of its inadequacies, it fits the agenda. Readers will know, of course, that the SNP’s minimum pricing policy has been a quick and impressive success:

Immediate impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol …

BBC Scotland reported yesterday:

NHS experts have found no evidence that minimum pricing for alcohol is having an impact on underage drinking. A study of 50 drinkers aged between 13 and 17 found there was no change in their consumption habits after the policy came into force. They said more research was needed to understand the impact the minimum price of 50p per unit had on young people. The Scottish government said it was a small sample, and it was taking other measures to address the problem.

The SNP minister responsible was of course door-stepped. Can you imagine 50 Welsh kids drinking being blamed on a Labour minister there, in a BBC wales report? No, me neither.

You only have to read this to realise that we are looking at a pilot study prior to more reliable research with a bigger sample. A sample of 50 is utterly unreliable beyond offering guidance to subsequent researchers. The authors have said that more research is required. Required before what we wonder? Well, duh, before reporting obviously. The BBC editor should have understood this qualification, ignored the report, and looked for a better story but, agenda-driven, an SNP-bad story proved irresistible.

Interestingly, but not found by the BBC team, earlier researchers had already cast doubt on the importance of such schemes for underage drinkers:

The Sheffield researchers also said that heavy drinkers could gain significant health benefits from reducing their consumption (although underage and young binge drinkers may benefit less).

Strangely, or perhaps not, BBC Scotland seemed to have forgotten their own report in September 2018 on teenage drinking in Scotland which would have helped readers contextualise the story of the 50 underage drinkers:

Teenage drinking in Scotland has dropped “dramatically” in the last decade, new research has indicated.A World Health Organisation study led by the University of St Andrews found Scotland’s teenagers are consuming far less alcohol than previously. The drop was the second largest for girls and fourth largest for boys out of 36 European countries surveyed. But the study warned alcohol consumption remained dangerously high across the continent. The new WHO report on adolescent alcohol-related behaviour between 2002 and 2014 revealed that since 2002, weekly drinking among 15-year-olds in Scotland has declined from 41% to 11% in girls and from 41% to 14% among boys.

Increased fuel efficiency in Scottish homes

The Chief Statistician has released further encouraging stats regarding the fuel efficiency of Scottish homes and levels of fuel poverty being experienced. Note the longer term trends achieved since 2013 for reducing fuel poverty – and from 2010 for Energy Efficient Dwellings and for SHQS social housing pass/failure rate. Remember – these longer term positive trends are NOT occurring by accident. These good outcomes are being achieved BECAUSE there is an SNP Scottish Government with some kind of coherent plan in operation with a focussed desire to improve living conditions throughout Scotland. Don’t let the Britnats undermine these hard won gains. Link and snippets below:

The Chief Statistician has released figures on fuel poverty, energy efficiency, the condition of housing, the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) and other key descriptors of the occupied housing stock in Scotland. This publication provides the first release of information from the Scottish House Condition Survey (SHCS) for the year January to December 2018.

In 2018 the level of fuel poverty remained similar to 2017: 25.0% or 619,000 households were fuel poor, with 11.3% or 279,000 households living in extreme fuel poverty. This compares to the 23.7% or 583,000 fuel poor households in 2017, with 11.9% or 293,000 households living in extreme fuel poverty.

There has been little change in the fuel poverty rate over the past 3 years, but there has been a reduction from the peak of 31.7%, or 761,000 households, in 2013.

Levels of extreme fuel poverty have been decreasing since the peak in 2013 of 16.0%, or 384,000 households.

In 2018, 43% of Scottish homes were in the highest energy efficiency bands, C or better, and half had an energy efficiency rating of 67 or higher (using Standard Assessment Procedure 2012, Reduced Data Standard Assessment Procedure version 9.93).

Using Standard Assessment Procedure 2009 allows the longer-term trend to be explored and shows strong improvement in the energy efficiency profile of housing. The share of the most energy efficient dwellings, those rated C or better, increased from 24% in 2010 to 49% in 2018. In the same period, the proportion of properties in the lowest EPC bands (E, F or G) more than halved, reducing from 27% to 12%.

The Scottish Housing Quality Standard failure rate in the social sector was 36%, not allowing for abeyances and exemptions which are taken into account by the Scottish Housing Regulator. This has fallen from 60% in 2010.

Overcrowding levels in Scotland remain unchanged: 2%, or 53,000 households, were living in overcrowded accommodation in 2018.

The sample size in 2018 was 2,964 dwellings where both an interview and a physical survey were conducted.

Now ITV’s health correspondent gets the NHS Scotland and England figures all wrong

A screenshot of a social media post

Description automatically generated

From ITV’s Emily Morgan yesterday, after noting grudgingly that NHS Scotland had treated 85.5% within 4 hours:

Last week I was in Wales and visited the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport. Only 58% of its patients were see within four hours in A&E in November last year, that is shocking and not one of the patients I spoke to there was surprised, many had been waiting 12 hours themselves. Across Wales the figure stands at 74.4% and in England, just 79.8% were seen within four hours in December, down from 86.5% in 2018.

She has the wrong figures for England. Only their Type 1 departments are comparable and they only managed 71.3% at the end of a steady fall from a summer ‘high’ of 78.9%.

Morgan also says:

What Scotland doesn’t do well in is planned operations, so the answer might well be that the NHS in Scotland has different priorities.

Really? See this:

In October 2019, only 1.7% of operations were cancelled due to a lack of capacity in terms of operating theatres or staff, down from 2% in September. For any system like NHS Scotland to have 0 cancellations due to capacity, would require facilities and staffing beyond that which could be reasonably justified and, often, theatres lying empty and staff idle.

Has Herald exposed falling attendance at dentists due to Scots having better teeth?

A close up of a person

Description automatically generated

And yet:

The number of children in Scotland with no obvious sign of tooth decay has hit a record high.

Figures from NHS Scotland show four out of five (80%) P7 children had no obvious decay experience in their permanent teeth in 2019.

This is up from 53% in 2005 when records began.

Data from a national inspection programme shows seven out of 10 (69.5%) P7 children from the most deprived areas have no obvious decay experience.

This is less than children in the least deprived areas where almost nine out of 10 (88.1%) have no decay.

'Conspiracy as an emergent property of organisations' like the BBC

Scottish Propagandist of the Year Award-winner in 2014

Peter A Bell

When assessing the BBC’s coverage of Scottish politics and the now undeniable bias in favour of the British establishment it would be a mistake to think in terms of a formal conspiracy. If you’re imagining a cabal of managers, producers, directors, journalists and presenters secretly conniving together to do down the SNP and the independence movement, you are entertaining a fantasy. There is no organised plot. Nor is there any need for such a thing. What, with hindsight, has all the appearance of having been carefully contrived is, in fact, no more than the incidental outcome of an ‘organic’ process with no purpose or direction.

Just as ‘misreporting’ may be indistinguishable from deliberate dishonesty, so what looks like a conspiracy may be only a mirage. It may be no more than the impression left on history by lots of unconnected, or only loosely connected events. It may be a pattern without a plan. It may be conspiracy as an emergent property of an organisation which, not being effectively managed towards its true purpose, tends towards the dominant agenda within its own structures.

All that is required for the appearance of conspiracy to emerge is that there should be a sufficient number of people; with a sufficient amount of influence; and a sufficient commonality of interest.

Conspiracy as an emergent property of organisations

Read the above!

ALERT: Awakened Scottish Covenant 2019 webpage:

From Contrary:

The Digital Covenant 2019 webpage is up and running for signing:

So sign it. If you are ‘waiting for the SNP’ you’ll be cold in your grave before anything happens – in saying that, only do what you feel comfortable with. At least read the first page of the signing process which describes what you need and explains that it is a legal document, so make sure that you agree with the statement before signing.

I haven’t actually been through the process yet, got to scan a couple of documents, so not sure if it is easy or not – does anyone have experience of it they would share?

I will repeat: WE are the Plan B, if you take no action then nothing will happen. Lots of little things by lots of people is cumulative – no need for major ground breaking events of organising, just whatever you feel able to do.

Signing this covenant thing is just one thing – I suspect it will take a while, so best to get it underway as quickly as possible and keep advertising it.

Glasgow’s hospitals miles better but ignored by BBC Scotland again

A person sitting on a table

Description automatically generated
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 20: Jacqueline McPhee (L) and Jean McNeillie are pictured at Lightburn Hospital, on January 20, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Bill Murray / SNS Group)

We’ve had a few reports here of excellence in Glasgow hospitals, sourced by our Glasgow Correspondent, Brian McGowan and, of course, largely ignored by our MSM as they, rat-like, follow the scent of blood and avian excrement. Today we hear:

NHS Glasgow and Greater Clyde (NHSGGC) is embracing a person centred visiting approach across hospitals to enhance patient wellbeing and recovery as part of its tailored individual care model – ‘Person Centred Visiting’ (PCV).

Visiting will no longer be restricted to specific times but rather planned around the wishes of individual patients and families. This will enable patients to decide when and for how long families and friends are able to visit. The approach aims to ensure patients are able to stay connected to the people that matter most in their lives. Person Centred Visiting (PCV) will be introduced across all inpatient wards in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

PCV centres on the individual needs of the patient, and related decision making will be led by the patient in partnership with those they would like to be part of the process. The model was developed following a comprehensive consultation with more than 500 patients, families and staff in June last year, and follows Scottish Government guidance to implement PCV in all health boards this year.

While the focus is on removing visiting time restrictions altogether, there will still be managed processes in place to ensure the privacy and dignity of all patients is respected at all times, and local guidelines are being developed in line with this. Thanks to the new approach, wards have noticed that communication between staff, patients and relatives has improved and there are more opportunities for the team to gather information to help deliver effective and safe person-centred care.

Regular readers will know that this is only the latest in a sequence of positive reports on Glasgow hospitals. See:

BBC Scotland miss another good news story about the NHS in Glasgow

From our Senior Health Researcher, Brian McGowan: A senior Glasgow doctor has just completed his 8th trip to Malawi, taking life-saving equipment and expertise to help patients with serious upper gastrointestinal disease. Prof. Adrian Stanley, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, took with him a number of endoscopes donated by NHSGGC to help patients suffering


By: Ronald Maclean, Island of Lewis, a story of one man’s treatment, lacking the ‘public interest’ that the Reporting Scotland editor desires. Now if he could modify the story and introduce excessive delays and a bird-related infection leading to his near-death, then….. I live some distance from major medical centres. I was recently referred from

225th birthday of one of best hospitals in the world and it’s in Glasgow but BBC Scotland ignore it again

TuS Health Correspondent: Brian McGowan From NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde yesterday: Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) has celebrated its 225th birthday with the unveiling of a commemorative mural documenting its rich history and positive impact on healthcare.The hospital has been serving the public since 1794 and today symbolises one of the busiest and best equipped

New cancer treatment research centre for Glasgow

Research: Brian McGowan From NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde yesterday: Glasgow scientists have been awarded a major cash boost from Cancer Research UK to pioneer new radiotherapy technologies and techniques that could help more people survive cancer in the future. Experts from the Cancer Research UK Glasgow Centre are set to receive £3.5 million over

Scotland’s depressed media look away as TWO Glasgow mental health wards are praised

I hope my use of the term ‘depressed’ is not inappropriate. As well as using it to grab your attention, I’m using the word here to point to the physical way in which editorial preferences for bad news about NHS Scotland lead to stories like this being depressed and disappeared. BBC Scotland, STV, the Herald

Like Cryptococcus neoformans in or around every hospital there is still a sickening sub-culture in Pacific Quay

I return to this theme often as my latest evidence of BBC bias is attributed to a paranoid conspiracy culture which I embrace. Like Chomsky, I have never pointed to any media conspiracy and like him, I know you don’t need one to get the kind of biases prevalent in our MSM. Anyhow, ‘everybody’ tells


A Son of Scotland

Talking-up Scotland

Counter- propaganda and Citizen Journalism since 2014

So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable. - Aldous Huxley

Wings Over Scotland

sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul


Scottish and Uk Politics