Fake news spotted

As an economist,

Professor Richard Murphy

As an economist, I’ll tell you that to assess Scotland’s economy you need to know about how much people have to spend in the country, how much is invested in Scotland, how much the Scottish Government spends, what the country’s exports and imports are, how much is saved, and the total tax paid in Scotland.

Note that’s seven separate bits of data. And we only have reliable figures on some of what the government spends. As for the rest, Revenue Scotland is still struggling to work out which people are tax resident in Scotland and it has no clue at all on what corporation tax, VAT or other taxes are due, precisely because no-one has to declare those taxes separately for Scotland. It’s the same with imports and exports: no-one knows what these are because there are no border posts at Carlisle, Berwick-on-Tweed or Stranraer. On investment and savings, we’re equally clueless.

The message then is a simple one: when people say Scotland is in financial trouble, or running a deficit, or anything else, ask them how they know. If they say it’s the GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) report, tell them to read the home page for that report where it is quite candid about the fact that the data in it is estimated.

Sigh. We can and do measure GVA to NUTS1 regions. Even to NUTS2 ones. We even look at income to NUTS3 regions. And, of course, income, production and consumption all equal each other.

An economist would know this.

To be blunt, Westminster is saying as loudly and clearly as it can that Scotland quite literally does not count by refusing to measure what happens there.

Interestingly, let us take Ritchie’s argument seriously for a moment. For that also means that Westminster doesn’t know what is happening in England, or Wales, or, in fact, any other subset of the UK. It’s a plot I tell you, a plot!

16 comments on “Fake news spotted

  1. Actually I don’t find “Westminster doesn’t know what is happening in England, or Wales, or, in fact, any other subset of the UK.” so improbable. The phrase “couldn’t find its arse with a routemap” jumps so readily to mind.

  2. “It is exceptionally unlikely that eight per cent of the population make 17 per cent of the UK deficit.”

    Adding “Scotland” to the list of things that Murphy know absolutely fuck-all about.

    And the fruitloop cybernats are lapping it up, and that includes a growing number of SNP MPs and MSPs.

  3. GD, if the SNP is really taking the Professor (sic) to heart, then I’m afraid your nation is doomed. We’ve got a spare bedroom you can move into if you like, although I’ll have to move the Syrian kids out first.

  4. Well we do know that Scotland has more than its fair share of folk sucking from the teat(s) of the state (although in work), and it can’t be difficult to establish that it has more than its fair share of people on benefits. These are two of the classes of the terminally clueless who vote socialist – oh, wait a minute, that’s a third indicator in itself.

  5. @Custard Cream: I still think that the majority of Scots recognise the absurdly generous deal we get from the UK and aren’t going to vote to end that. Unfortunately around 30% are hardcore independence-at-all-costs.

    After 2014, and even more so know, I can see how places turn out like Venezuela.

  6. Here’s a thought experiment. If Scotland were to succeed in gaining independence. And floats off as an independent state would Westminster remove those parts of if its government infrastructure not servicing Scotland alone? If so that would bugger up the local economy some what.

  7. Here’s a thought experiment. If Scotland were to succeed in gaining independence. And floats off as an independent state

    Unfortunately it cannot “float off”. We would be stuck sharing a 100-odd mile border with a country run by deranged people whose sole purpose in life is slighting England. Don’t rule out them importing in tens of thousands of excitable migrants and bussing them down to Berwick.

  8. The Revenue do known where taxpayers live. I researched this 15 (yea gods!) years ago as part of addressing how local income tax would be workable. I would have to find the right backup disk to get the details, but HMRC know what local authority all taxpayers are domiciled in, except for a few thousand mostly overseas contractors or people in the military.

    And the simple answer: it’s there on your payslip and/or self assessment form, for glod’s sake!

  9. jgh – HMRC know where taxpayers say they live, and taxpayers know that what they say doesn’t normally matter so long as it’s in the UK.

    It’s now starting to matter, what with the Scottish tax changes.

    But determining residence isn’t always all that simple. One area where it does matter is claiming CGT relief on selling your home, and that regime is full of borderline cases.

  10. @Van_Patten

    Yeah, Neil has been remarkably thorough and persistent over the last few years in debunking Nat myths and lies. So much so that the CyberNats went after him by complaining to his employer.

    Another excellent blogger in this style is Fraser Whyte.

  11. I addressed some of the edge cases in my report, but to find the detail I would have to track down which removable drive it’s backed up on. It may even be on a CD-ROM.

  12. I find it remarkable even by the Fat Prof’s standards of stupidity that he thinks that figures compiled by Scottish bureaucrats in Scotland from publically available data are somehow being manipulated by unknown people in Westminster. He even misreads Susan Cuthbert, one of the architects of GERS, to claim that she thinks it is inaccurate. The link he supplies shows clearly that she is saying that GERS is not the same as Whole of Government Accounts, which is obvious to anyone apart from the completely stupid. How long till City Uni have to get rid of this idiot?

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