Scotland's Renewable Energy Statistics
chokka blog
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3M ago
Summary Full Fact have concluded that senior SNP politicians have been guilty of making false statements to suggest that Scotland is close to self-sufficient in renewables (see here and here). Nowadays - to avoid being accused of making blatantly false claims - the SNP are generally careful to include the qualifying phrase "the equivalent of" when making statements about the extent to which Scottish renewables meet Scotland's electricity demand. But as Full Fact have also made clear, this phraseology is still misleading: The SNP are clearly wedded to this misleading statistic - tak ..read more
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Ofgem Price Caps and Scotland
chokka blog
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5M ago
Recent actual and future forecast increases in Ofgem's default energy tariff cap levels are genuinely shocking and have rightly led to widespread calls for government action to deal with an impending national energy bills crisis.  But in Scotland there is - of course - an inevitably parochial spin being placed on the issue, particularly by those who seek nationalist grievance at every turn.  Take this headline in the independence-supporting newspaper The National: Quite how they claim that they have an "exclusive" on Ofgem's latest published price caps I don't know. Read th ..read more
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GERS 2022 - Here we go again
chokka blog
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5M ago
Every year the Scottish Government's Chief Economist publishes the Government Revenue and Expenditure Scotland (GERS) report and every year the SNP's spin machine goes into over-drive. This year is no exception.  In 2014 when looking back on years when oil revenues had been booming, the SNP summarised the GERS figures thus:  "Scotland accounted for 9.3% of UK public spending between 2008-09 and 2012-13, while generating 9.5% of tax receipts - it put in more than it got out." We can easily update the SNP's previously preferred formulation with the most recent GERS figures: "Scotlan ..read more
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Why Not Scotland?
chokka blog
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7M ago
Despite the fact that recent opinion polls (eg. here and here) show that less than a third of Scots actually want it, Nicola Sturgeon has today announced that we are to be treated to a "pretendyref" on Scottish independence in October 2023.  Given that nobody expects the UK Government to grant a Section 30 order, this will become a glorified opinion poll which pro-union voters will be inclined to boycott, rendering it unrepresentative and therefore entirely pointless. But having set a date, presumably the SNP believe that they can now articulate a credible case that will win round those i ..read more
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We Need to Talk About Scotland
chokka blog
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8M ago
The Scottish Government has just published (under the headline "First Paper in new independence prospectus") the remarkably verbosely titled "Building a New Scotland - Independence in the Modern World. Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland?".   We've been here before of course, but such is the real-life Groundhog Day of Scottish Politics under an SNP government: "This guide to an independent Scotland will be the most comprehensive and detailed blueprint of its kind ever published [...] it is a landmark document which sets out the economic, social and democratic case for indep ..read more
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Scotland's NI Contributions and the State Pension
chokka blog
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1y ago
Summary Some Scottish nationalists correctly recognise that an independent Scotland would have to fund its own State Pension ... but then incorrectly claim that Scotland's National Insurance contributions are greater than the spending they fund. The truth is that Scotland accounts for 8.0% of payments into the UK's National Insurance system but receives 8.6% of the spending that system distributes. That translates into a c.£750 million annual benefit to Scotland from pooling and sharing National Insurance contributions with the rest of the UK - a benefit which would be lost were Scotland to se ..read more
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Independence by Gaslight: Pensions
chokka blog
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1y ago
The SNP appear to have decided they would try to use the payment of state pensions in an independent Scotland as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the rest of the UK if Scotland were to secede. Perhaps now realising how calamitous this strategy would be, senior SNP figures are already trying to deny their own on-the-record comments and suggesting that this is all some concocted unionist scare tactic - so part 1 of this blog offers a summary timeline of exactly how the SNP have communicated on this topic in recent weeks.  Part 2 uses the full transcripts of each of the SNP statements ..read more
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What devolution of DWP functions tells us about the likely costs of Independence
chokka blog
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1y ago
A few days ago I tweeted about the lack of serious analysis from Scottish nationalists when it comes to the question of what it would cost to replicate the costs of our currently shared machinery of state: in everything the SNP have published on the economics of separation, nowhere have i seen even a half-hearted attempt to model the annual costs iScotland would incur to replace the currently shared functions of HMRC, DWP, Treasury, FCO, DFID, Cabinet Office, BEIS etc. why? — Kevin Hague (@kevverage) December 16, 2021 in the deficit we currently see (per GERS) we’re allocated just 8.2% of t ..read more
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GERS 2021 - So What?
chokka blog
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1y ago
Every year the Scottish Government's Chief Statistician provides an updated analysis of the state of Scotland's public sector finances by publishing the GERS report [Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2020-21]. This really shouldn't be a very controversial event, but since the independence referendum in 2014 each publication of GERS has been met with a veritable tsunami of media commentary and online debate, with both sides of the constitutional debate seeking to spin the figures in their favour. In recent years, the GERS figures have shown Scotland's fiscal deficit (as a percentag ..read more
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Richard Murphy on GERS: The Perpetually Baffled Man
chokka blog
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1y ago
I'm writing a serious blog on GERS and really don't want it to get bogged down by engaging with the frankly bonkers claims made by the perpetually baffled GERS-denier in chief, Richard Murphy.  To engage with Murphy on the topic of GERS is as pointless and frustrating as trying to play chess with a pigeon (while wrestling a pig). But I recognise that some of you might think that describes an amusing spectator sport, so let me use this blog to deal with some of his recent - um - "contributions to the debate". My starting point is his appearance on the "GERS - Scotonomics Special". This is ..read more
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