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New analysis of public spending in Scotland

18 Sep 17

New analysis of public spending in Scotland

A new Nuffield working paper shows how schools and hospitals have suffered from the spending choices made by the SNP government over the past ten years.

Research undertaken by Nuffield College Associate Member Prof Jim Gallagher has been published in a new Gwilym Gibbon Centre for Public Policy Working Paper, and reported in The Times today (18 September 2017).

High public spending in Scotland compared to England has often been the subject of controversy. Less attention has been given to where this money goes, the different public spending choices made in Scotland compared to England, and how the relativities have changed over time. The working paper examines the data on public spending in Scotland to identify overall trends, and the relative priorities of devolved government in Scotland compared to England. (A similar analysis can be done for Wales and Northern Ireland.)

The data confirm that overall spending relativities have not changed over time, contrary to what might have been expected from the operation of the Barnett formula, and that devolved government has demonstrated some different spending priorities, some explicitly announced and others detectable only by seeing where money has not been spent.

Download the Working Paper, "Public Spending in Scotland: Relativities and Priorities" from our website.

Read the article in The Times (subscription or registration required).

See more Gwilym Gibbon Centre for Public Policy Working Papers.