Government has welcomed an academic report published yesterday estimating the
immediate costs of setting-up an independent Scotland.
The report by
three academics, including Professor Patrick Dunleavy of the London School of
Economics, finds that Scotland’s transition costs are likely to be
significantly offset by several factors including some significant initial
‘streamlining’ savings, the generally easier process of managing a
smaller government infrastructure and some “substantial policy
savings” in areas such as defence.
The report notes
that expenditure in new IT systems over the medium term would be investments in
modern systems that may deliver significant policy savings. It also points out
that, with half of UK IT contracts up for renewal, the same investment will be
required of Scottish taxpayers regardless of the referendum outcome.
‘Transitioning to a new Scottish state’, published by the LSE and
Democratic Audit, an independent think-tank, notes that, “in contrast to
the deeply embedded ‘silos’ of Whitehall departments, Scottish
government is currently run as a single organisation” and that this
“has proved a very effective pattern of government”. It finds that
the “realism” of Scottish government planning for independence
generally seems high, while concluding that “the long-run viability of an
independent Scottish state looks strong.”
estimates that the immediate set-up costs for independent Scotland would be up
to £200 million. This investment would be to create new administrative
structures, while it could also streamline many public bodies.
Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
Prof Dunleavy’s report as it totally vindicates the Scottish
Government’s position on how we can complete the governmental transition
to a fully independent Scotland. It makes clear how the initial start-up costs
would be much less than the UK Government have sought to claim.
points out that much of the UK structure of government quangos and agencies is
highly elaborate and long-lived and that the Scottish Government would not need
all these bodies, while there is also good evidence that government IT systems
in small states around the size of Scotland are generally cheaper and more
effective than with the scale of the UK state.
the report judges the realism of the Scottish Government’s planning for
independence to be generally high, it suggests that some of the demands for
cost data made upon us at this stage would require “the prophetic powers
of the Delphi oracle”.
also makes clear that the main cause of uncertainty around Scotland’s
transition to independence lies with a lack of UK Government planning so I urge
UK Ministers, in line with the Edinburgh Agreement, to engage with us in
sensible pre-referendum discussions. As we move closer to this exciting
referendum on our country’s future, the people of Scotland deserve
The report, ‘Transitioning to a new Scottish
state’ can be read in full here:http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/files/2014/06/Transitioning-to-a