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Scotland's Fiscal Future

At this event, David Bell (University of Stirling and the Centre on Constitutional Change), David Eiser (University of Stirling and the Centre on Constitutional Change) and David Phillips (Institute for Fiscal Studies) examined the agreement, paying particular attention to one key part: the adjustments to Scotland's block grant to account for the devolved revenues and additional spending responsibilities the Scottish Government is acquiring.

The main presentation focused on explaining and analysing:

  • The journey to agreement between the two governments on this issue - which was perhaps the most difficult issue to resolve
  • How the agreed block grant adjustment sits in relation to the "no detriment" and other principles of the Smith Commission's report
  • How the Scottish Government's budget may evolve under different scenarios for revenue growth
  • The fiscal risks and incentives the Scottish Government will face, both year-to-year and over the longer term
  • The extent to which new borrowing powers allow Scotland to manage the risk of volatile revenues and welfare spending
  • And how the system compares to those in other major countries with devolved government

There were also short presentations on two aspects of the new powers by other key experts:

  • Scotland's borrowing powers (Monique Ebell, National Institute for Economic and Social Research)
  • Welfare devolution (John Dickie, Child Poverty Action Group) 

Proceedings were chaired by Caroline Gardner, Auditor General for Scotland.