Government expenditure and revenue in Scotland : accounting for the fiscal deficit in 1996-7

Midwinter, Arthur (1998) Government expenditure and revenue in Scotland : accounting for the fiscal deficit in 1996-7. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 24 (1). pp. 59-62. ISSN 0306-7866

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    Abstract

    The annual publication of the Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (GERS) Report is becoming a set-piece political confrontation between the Scottish National Party and die government of the day. This statistical exercise was dubbed 'Forsyth's fiddled figures' under the Conservatives, and as 'bogus' under Labour. This year, the SNP described the report as a 'thoroughly discredited exercise, that is political and subjective, but presented as factual and objective', and criticised 'the treatment of European funding, the underestimation of income tax receipts in Scotland, and substantial changes to the allocation of identifiable expenditure'. These criticisms shall be reviewed below, after setting out the fiscal arithmetic.