Letter: Giant hurdle

As ACADEMICS who have previously argued the case for fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament, we read with incredulity your article, leader and letter (29 November) arguing the case for fiscal autonomy for Scotland.

No mention is made in any of these pieces about the recent financial meltdown both here and in other countries. As we have consistently argued - in our book and articles all written before the crash - a key component of any fiscal devolution settlement for the Scottish Parliament is the replacement (fully or partially) of the insurance function currently provided by the UK government. We note that there is no mention of this insurance function in the various pieces in your paper.

Yet we have seen the almost complete meltdown of the Scottish financial sector due to the completely irresponsible actions of RBS and HBOS. And who paid, and will pay, for this irresponsibility? None other than the UK taxpayer!

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It seems to us the Calman proposal outlined by Michael Moore is actually quite generous to Scotland, given the massive insurance function provided by the rest of the UK for the failings of two of its leading banks. Given the current Scottish Government seems so enmeshed with the banking culture that has failed us, we dread to think what kind of dire economic predicament Scotland would likely have been in today had the kind of economic independence discussed in your paper been in place.

We would also note the current administration has apparently let lapse the "tartan tax", the one and only piece of fiscal autonomy so far granted to the Scottish Parliament by the people of Scotland.


Adam Smith Professor of Political Economy

University of Glasgow


Professor of Economics

University of Connecticut