Friday 4 July 2003

Growth needed

Professor Donald Macrae of Lloyds TSB says that Scotland needs more economic growth:
Scotland has the fourth lowest GDP per capita in the EU after Spain, Portugal and Greece. Our annual average real growth rate between 1973 to 2001, at an anaemic 1.6 per cent, compares unfavourably to the UK’s 2.1 per cent, Finland’s 2.6 per cent, the US at 2.8 per cent, Norway at 3.3 per cent and Ireland’s Celtic tiger performance of 5.2 per cent.
Our politicians are not facing up to this, Scotland's greatest problem. And the professor's solution:
But the biggest change lies in the Scottish Parliament itself. The link between the Parliament and the Scottish economy is tenuous at best and must be strengthened. The most obvious solution is to make the Scottish Parliament more responsible for raising the taxes it spends. Increasing fiscal devolution would have the twin benefits of focusing the attention of the Parliament on improving the Scottish economy and introducing a level of responsibility not apparent at present.
This is absolutely correct. Our MSPs act like a bunch of schoolchildren spending the pocket money supplied by over-indulgent parents. Until they are responsible for raising their own expenditure they will never understand the world of business. Of course businesses have to obtain revenue by selling to willing buyers and that's very different from collecting taxes but we need to start educating our politicians somewhere.