Friday, March 30, 2007


Windmills are an expensive way of providing intermittent & largely useless electricity. We should, instead be allowing the building of new nuclear power stations which provide electricity in France at half the price of conventional power.

Apart from halving everybody's electricity prices what else could we do?

"THE GOVERNMENT’S GREENenergy initiatives, the Renewables Obligation and the Renewables Obligation,Scotland (RO/ROS), promise to raise £1 billion a year for electricity suppliers by 2010 through levies oncustomers. OFGEM estimated the cost to consumers in 2003-2004 at £416 million."

Bearing in mind that 3p off our income tax has been calculated by Westminster as costing £870 million which is considerably less than £1 billion it seems we could very easily afford it if we stopped this nonsense.

This would not interfere with any of the other things the 9% Growth Party is pledged to do. Scotland has no problems that could not be solved by having a competent government.


This contains pie charts of where the government raises our taxes & where it goes all measured in billions of £s. Scotland's population is 8.6% of Britain's & our per capita GDP is about 10% lower so I have also included this (7.74% figure (7.74%). I wouldn't stand by this but it is probably a good ballpark figure, except, of course, for oil.

Where Taxpayers Money Comes From

Income tax £157 (£12.15)
National Insurance £ 95 (£7.35)
Excise £ 41 (£3.17)
Corporation Tax £ 50 (£3.87)
VAT £ 80 (£6.19)
Business Rates £ 22 (£1.7)
Council Tax £ 23 (£1.78)
Other (capital gains, stamp duty,
vehicle excise
£ 84 (£6.5)
TOTAL £553 (£42.8)

Total expenditure for Scotland for 2004-5 was £47.7 billion (£25.8 billion by Holyrood) c/o Brian Monteith's new book Paying the Piper so adding 10% for 2007 I assume £52.47 billion. The UK figure is £587 billion which puts our spending at 8.9% (somewhat hogher but as I said i am taking no account of oil & certainly a far smaller deficit than the £50 billion the RU costs us).

Where Taxpayer's Money is Spent
Health £104 (£9.26)
Transport £ 20 (£1.78)
Education £ 77 (£6.85)
Defence £ 32 (£2.8)
Nat Debt Interest £ 30 (£2.67)
Industry, Agriculture, Employment & training
£ 21 (£1.87)
Public Order £ 33 (£2.94)
Housing £ 22 (£1.96)
Social Protection £161( (£14.3)
Other - public services, culture,
sport international development, civil servant
pensions etc £ 59 (£5.25)
Total £587 (£52.47)

Monday, March 26, 2007


Scotsman letter today.
Peter Ellis's letter (23 March) comparing Scotland's growth to Albania's is wrong to say that theirs, at 6 per cent is the best in Europe. Ukraine (9.4 per cent), Lithuania (9 per cent), Latvia (7.4 per cent), Russia 7.3 (per cent), Belarus (6.8 per cent), Moldova (6.3 per cent). Estonia and Ireland have also had very impressive long-term growth.

Of course, many countries are doing as well or better: China's 9.1 per cent growth means GNP doubles every eight years.

However, the basic point is true. Scotland (long term rate 1.5 per cent), and indeed the United Kingdom (2.5 per cent) could, and should, do far better if we only attempted to make growth the priority these nations do.

All power to the Albanians where it is deserved, but I do not think we are unable to match or exceed them.


This is Mr Ellis' original letter on which I have commented. The growth figures are from Geography IQ Others will differ slightly depending on the year under question & counting methods - but not by much.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Analysis of SNP's economic policy ignores the potential for growth

This is an OPINION peace I had in the Scotsman in April 2005. It is still correct.
Professor Arthur Midwinter is misinformed in his comments on the SNP’s policy of cutting corporation tax to kick-start economic growth (your report, 29 March). The case that all the SNP’s policies, specifically independence and the use of oil revenues, could cost £10 billion is arguable either way; but it is unreasonable to use this figure in an argument about cutting corporation tax.

As he states later, since our total corporation tax receipts are £2.1 billion, a cut of one-third would be £700 million. Scottish Enterprise already costs us £500 million, for less obvious effect, and Holyrood has regularly had an underspend of £500 million. This is, therefore, clearly affordable.

The argument about independence is a different issue. It is quite possible the SNP could become the leading party without persuading the electorate to secede.

He is also in error in saying Ireland’s growth preceded the tax cut. Ireland decided on reform in 1989, including cutting business taxes, and instituted it within a year. They immediately came out of stagflation.

It is true that in face of this success they repeatedly cut corporation tax to its present level of 12.5 per cent (and that the rate of growth further increased), which is what he is referring to in saying that some tax cuts came after success. But the initial cut came first - the relationship between reform and success is so close that it is not reasonable to deny that the one led to the other.

Independence and European Union membership, sometimes credited with responsibility for Ireland’s achievement, came decades earlier, and immigration (actually the return of generations of emigrants), not surprisingly, followed growth.

A point he misses is that the lesson the SNP has learned from Ireland is twofold. Not just cutting business taxes, but also cutting regulation.

Turning round our economy cannot be done purely by writing a cheque, but it can be done by a government willing to make the effort, which includes writing that cheque and backing it. Since each 1 per cent increase in growth means an extra £1 billion of national wealth each and every year, the gains to be made exceed the cost many times over.

I do not believe Scottish voters are too stupid or too shortsighted to understand this.


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Corporation tax will be lowered from 30p to 28p next April - the first time the business levy has been reduced since 1999.

Corporation tax rates for small firms will rise to 22 pence, higher than the basic rate of income tax

The income tax cut is smoke & mirrors because the increase in getting rid of the 10p low rate exactly matches what we save with 2p off.

I have been calling for cutting corporation tax cuts to Irish levels of 12.5% for Scotland & also for the UK. Cutting 2p to 28% is a very small step but it is at least in the right direction even though there is at least half a step back in raising it for small business.

All in all no significant change.

Brown should have cut corporation tax by 3p, not increased the small business rate & made a specific promise that any increase in the amount raised by CT would be returned in further reductions. That would have cost very little more & had a significant role in improving growth as it would have established a virtuous circle of declining business costs. This would be in line with the Laffer curve predictions by economist Arthur Laffer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


We are here to make the next generation of the human race more knowledgeable about how the universe is put together, more in control of it & generally able to achieve more than the previous ones. That is not achieved by hiding in a hole & wishing we didn't exist.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Catastrophic warming is a lie.

The Climate Bill calls for a 60% cut in carbon emissions in Britain.
This 60% cut either means complete dependence on nuclear for our electricity & probably to manufacture petrol or a massive reduction in living standards. Obviously I favor the former. FoE's "it will not impinge too heavily. For instance, it could mean changing the fuel we put in our cars, or the way energy is produced at source, or more recycling." is completely dishonest, particularly for an organisation which expels people who suggest we need nuclear.

The big parties are trying to push this through because it gives them more power over our lives & they care not a jot about reducing poverty.

The Scots Parliament should have absolutely nothing to do with it.

The 9% Growth party will oppose any economically damaging climate bill. If passed we will campaign for its repeal. There is no justification whatsover for politicians using their power to lower living standards.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Having pushed for the encouragement of prefabicated mass produced housing I was very pleased to hear:
Ikea flatpack home deal is signed

A £200Million housing project using Ikea flatpack homes is to be launched in Glasgow today.

The scheme will see 1200 family houses built over the next five years in Drumchapel.

As exclusively revealed by the Evening Times last year, around 40 of the properties will be Ikea flatpacks, the first time the Swedish company's prefabricated homes will have been used in Scotland.

advertisementSmart-living "Boklok" homes are a big hit in Scandinavia with their open-plan designs, high ceilings and large windows.

Today all the partners involved in the project were signing off the contracts in a ceremony at Glasgow City Chambers.

Summerhill councillor Paul Carey said: "Today we are giving the green light to the largest single regeneration scheme in Scotland."

On the other hand, since similar Norwegian houses sell at approx £40,000 (excluding installation) I was a little surprised at how much that is costing the corporation. £200 million for 1,200 homes comes to £166,000 each.

According to Boklok's site "BoKlok is aiming to sell homes in the range from a one-bedroom flat for under £100,000 to a three-bedroom house for under £150,000" - this is fully installed because "Will BoKlok homes be available to buy as flat packs from IKEA stores? ---
No. You will not be able to buy a flat pack house from IKEA". A not unreasonable position when there are so many rules in this country & councils knock down houses which, while well constructed, haven't done their paperwork acceptably.

Without such rules it would be perfectly possible to put one of these up for £40,000 for the unit & £20,000 installation.