commission on fiscal imbalance 合集

Commission on fiscal imbalance合集

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: (eg on owner-occupied housing) cancel out because regional revenue is correspondingly depressed. However, they do affect the comparability of expenditure measures. Objective 1 is the classification which brings eligibility for the highest level of European Regional Development Fund financing. On the role of EU funding in Wales, see Blewitt and Bristow (1999). This provoked outrage in the Scottish media, always keen to spot offence, until someone pointed out that an extension of this concession to Scotland (which was losing ERDF funds) would have meant a reduction in the Scottish Parliament’s Budget. 269 Commission on Fiscal Imbalance 4. REAL AND IMAGINED PROBLEMS The new arrangements in the United Kingdom exhibit some real problems, whereas others are imagined. Notwithstanding that some of the problems which appear in public debate are imagined, this does not mean that they have no influence on the evolution of the system. 4.1. Lack of Transparency There is a lack of transparency about both processes and data.18 The territorial fiscal mechanisms originated in the context of the territorial deconcentration of UK central government, with the territorial Secretaries of State being members of the UK Cabinet. Typically, they were relatively junior members of that Cabinet, but acquired constrained autonomy over the operation of public policy in their territory, in part as a reward for their loyalty to the Prime Minister of the day. Neither the Treasury nor the territorial departments had any interest in transparency: the Treasury culture naturally disposes itself to secrecy; and the territorial ministries thought that they could best protect territorial interests behind a veil of secrecy (Midwinter et al., 1991). A continuing consequence is that UK territorial data are generally of poor quality, arguably deteriorating during the 1980s and 1990s when the Conservative Government categorically ruled out devolution. In the UK system, most official statistical work is geared to the needs of UK policy, and requests for data which might have been taken to imply support for devolutionary policies were suspect. These effects reach far beyond territorial public expenditure data; for example, Cameron and Muellbauer (2000, Abstract) noted that ‘The historical unreliability of the Regional Accounts has implications for economic research on regional consumption and convergence and may have caused the poorest regions to miss out on EU Structural Funds’. Given the technical problems of producing regional data, and the political context within which they are produced, all regional data are likely to be challenged politically. The best data about a constituent part of the United Kingdom appear in the series ‘Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland’ (GERS),19 originally published by the Scottish Office and now continued by the Scottish Executive. However, this series is regularly abused by governments. Michael Forsyth, Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland, 1995-97, released one issue on the eve of a Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party Conference, at which he used its contents to denounce the devolution plans of the Scottish...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 03/06/2013 for the course ECON 220 taught by Professor Paulo during the Spring '13 term at University of Liverpool.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online