The Government of Scotland: Public Policy Making after Devolution

By Michael Keating | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Getting and Spending

Determining Scottish Expenditure

One of the most difficult aspects of the devolution settlement was the financial provision for the Scottish Parliament, and this remains an item of keen contention. There are two aspects to the debate: whether Scotland gets a fair share of resources; and the discrepancy between Scotland’s large discretion over how money is spent, and its very limited say over how it is raised. In fact, while devolution has led to huge changes in the political relationship between Scotland and Westminster, the fiscal relationship has remained largely unaltered. It remains an extreme case of path dependency, to be understood in relation to its evolution over time rather than to any coherent set of principles. Yet, while many people find the arrangement unsatisfactory, it has proved impossible to get agreement on an alternative, since any change would create obvious and visible winners and losers.

The issue has a long history. In the nineteenth century, various government grants were attributed to Scotland on a basis derived from its percentage contribution to probate duties in 1886 (Heald and McLeod 2002b). Known as the Goschen Formula after the Chancellor of the Exchequer who first formulated it, this gave Scotland 11/80 of any general increase, a proportion that happened to be roughly in line with its share of population. It was sporadically extended to other services during the early twentieth century but never formed a comprehensive basis for allocating spending (Mitchell 2003). As Scotland’s share of the UK population fell

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The Government of Scotland: Public Policy Making after Devolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Expanded Contents List vi
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Public Policy and Devolution 1
  • Chapter 2 - The New Scottish Political System 17
  • Chapter 3 - Publics, Parties and Elections 44
  • Chapter 4 - The Policy Environment 77
  • Chapter 5 - Government and Parliament 110
  • Chapter 6 - Intergovernmental Policy Making 138
  • Chapter 7 - Getting and Spending 168
  • Chapter 8 - Policy Making in Practice 202
  • Chapter 9 - New Politics, New Policies? 254
  • Bibliography 263
  • Index 281
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