Saturday 15 October 2005

Facing the abyss

David has written about Scotland's amazingly high dependence on state spending.

I decided to conduct a little survey of my own using last Friday's Scotsman, which contains the regular weekly recruitment supplement. As far as I could tell the paper was advertising 62 private sector vacancies, 25 with "charities" and 102 in the public sector. Sometimes it's not completely clear exactly how many jobs are on offer by each organisation but I think that my analysis is pretty accurate. I know that many if not most of the "charities" are predominantly financed by the taxpayer and should probably be included with other public sector jobs. Even if we discount that, only 38% of the advertised jobs are with private companies. We should also note that about half of the private sector opportunities are in low-paying roles like bar work, catering, cleaning and hair styling. No doubt the government jobs come complete with guaranteed, inflation-linked pensions and the adverts often state working hours down to the nearest 30 minutes!

We should also note that the Lothian area (the heartland of the Scotsman's circulation) is the second lowest in terms of dependency on the public sector scoring a mere 39%.


In Argyll and Clyde, 76% of the economy is generated from the state.
So while 39% of Lothian's current economic activity is in the state sector, only 38% of the jobs being advertised are not with the government. The percentage of advertised private vacancies is probably even less when we consider all those so-called charity jobs.

I am forced to conclude that the outlook is exceedingly bleak. God knows what the percentages would be in somewhere like Argyll and Clyde. Clearly this can't continue. The only question is whether a future government will cut off the funding before complete bankruptcy sets in.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Think of it as an experiment to show what would have happened to all of Britain if it hadn't been for Thatcher.

16 October 2005, 23:11:50 GMT+01:00
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Kenny McCormack
Well indeed, the Barnett free lunch isn't going to go on forever. Sooner or later a Tory government is going to be elected, and it will not have many votes from Scotland.  
The future Tories will have absolutely no reason to privilege Scotland in terms of public spending, and along with voting rights of Scottish MP’s being reformed, I suspect the debate about fiscal autonomy will then be put to bed: we will be getting it like it or not. 
So one day in the not to distant future the despised wealth creating sector in Scotland is going to have to pay for the massive public sector. I hope the Lothians and Aberdeen are up to it.

15 October 2005, 20:16:20 GMT+01:00
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Yesterday's Herald, suggests it would be electoral suicide for politicians to insist that public expenditure in Scotland is effective.  
However the comment at the end of the provocative article in 'Scotland on Sunday' was especially telling: "Jim Mather, enterprise spokesman for the SNP said high levels of public spending would leave Scotland dangerously exposed when government funding was cut back." When, not if.

15 October 2005, 19:13:00 GMT+01:00