There was a new YouGov Scottish poll in this morning’s Times. Topline voting intention figures with changes from their last poll in October are:

Westminster: CON 23%(nc), LAB 28%(-2), LD 6%(+1), SNP 36%(-4), GRN 3%(+2)
Holyrood Constituency: CON 26%(+1), LAB 23%(-2), LD 7%(+2), SNP 38%(-4), GRN 3%(+1)
Holyrood Regional: CON 25%(+2), LAB 22%(-2), LD 7%(+1), SNP 32%(-3), GRN 10%(+4)

Since October the October poll the SNP appear to be down a little (though as ever, it is just one poll). Two things of note: in Westminster Labour are in a clear second place, in Holyrood the Conservatives are second, perhaps the difference between voting for Theresa May and voting for Ruth Davison, or perhaps a reflection of the different political realities in the two places (in Holyrood one might vote for the Tories as an effective opposition to the SNP, whereas in Westminster it is a choice of Tory or Labour led government). Secondly, note the 10% score for the Greens in the Holyrood list, a level of support that would likely lead to a significant boost in seats.

The poll also had the regular independence questions (37% YES and 50% NO, with 36% support for holding a second indyref in the next five years), and the leader ratings. Interestingly there was a substantial drop in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings on doing a good job – down from 53% on October to 40% now. I can’t think of an obvious reason for this – it may just be last October people were answering in relation to Corbyn’s strong performance at the general election and that is now registering less in responses.

Full tabs are here.


193 Responses to “YouGov’s Scottish poll”

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  1. @ PTRP – “UK law is limiting debt relief for the Greeks”

    I laughed at DANNY and ALEC’s n4ive reading of Juncker’s comments but I fell of the chair with that one! Sadly the Greek people, especially the 50% youth unemployed, are not finding the Troika’s 3.5%+ primary surplus demands funny (the Troika being ECB, EC and an increasingly begrudging IMF) and I seriously doubt any of them are blaming UK law!

    @ OLDNAT – Adding to our discussion I looked into Switzerland and the range of top rate tax varies from 22.5% to 46% (range of 23.5%!!). It seems sadly pathetic that the debate in Scotland is over 1% differences versus rUK. I’m no expert on Swiss canton arrangements but clearly a wide variation of tax rates works for them. Sadly neither of the two main parties like sharing the spoils of power. I think both voted down every single devolved amendment in the withdrawal bill. The hypocrisy drives me crazy – we want our toys back but we ain’t sharing them with the devolved nations.

    It seems to make sense to keep corporation tax rates in close proximity as companies are more likely to exploit differences and have little concern on social needs (e.g GAFA+ and Pharma co.s in RoI and Luxembourg) but devolved nations and federations should have much more freedom to decide on Sales taxes and Income taxes to allow for their voters preference on higher/lower spending on different priorities.

  2. PTRP

    Views form outside a polity can frequently be worth noting – unless they are governed by prejudices, and you have never shown many signs of such.

    From my perspective, the Scots electorate aren’t “more sophisticated” – we just work within a couple of electoral systems (LA and Holyrood) which just allow more sophisticated voting. For Westminster, we don’t have a “4 party system”. In each constituency we mainly have “2 party” choices under FPTP – it’s just there is much more variation as to which two parties are in contention!

    Research did indicate that voters did much more research into the issues at the 2014 refer-endum, but that wasn’t replicated in the Euref here (or anywhere else)!

  3. @TREVOR WARNE

    It hardly worth it but OK what should the trikola do?
    I am just curious

  4. “TREVOR WARNE

    @ PTRP – “UK law is limiting debt relief for the Greeks”

    I laughed at DANNY and ALEC’s n4ive reading of Juncker’s comments but I fell of the chair with that one! ”

    I really seem to be missing out on much of the jollity that ensues from some of the posts on here.

    Maybe it’s just that I’m normal.

    [“naive” is not a swear word by the way.]

  5. I found it curiously disturbing to learn that the Telegraph’s circulation has fallen below 400,000 and is now lower than the Times’.

    I suppose my mental media map still has the DT located as a big beast with a circulation of around 1.7m (when was that? 1985, perhaps?)

    If I were a Tory I’d be even more disturbed, of course. Are traditional Tories a dying breed?

  6. Trevor Warne

    If we were discussing the taxes of an independent Scotland compared with other states, that would be one thing, but there’s a complicating factor as Scotland looks at changing bands and levels of income tax.

    Firstly, changes can’t be compensated for by altering other taxes as sovereign states can do.

    Secondly, the concern isn’t that “the rich” might move elsewhere. That’s true for every polity and the evidence is that it doesn’t happen to any significant effect. What we don’t (and can’t) know yet is to what extent higher rate taxpayers who could do so, would move part of their income into dividends. Were that to happen, all the tax on dividends income would go to the Exchequer in London, and none of it would go to Holyrood.

    Were Slab actually in power here, I suspect that their Finance Secretary would be just as careful as McKay is being. Any party can posture in opposition (and they all do!).

    What will be of more interest, as the Budget process goes through, is how the electorate respond to the SNP/Green policy of lowering income tax for the lowest paid, as opposed to the (last stated) Slab policy of raising income tax for all tax bands.

  7. Somerjohn

    Does it actually matter whether a paper has any circulation at all – as long as the TV companies continue to build their news agenda round that of the press?

  8. @SOMERJOHN

    There is much discussion here about the changes within political parties. All of the major parties are quite different in terms of both policy and membership to their positions just a few years ago. In a similar way, many major newspapers have changed considerably.

    The Telegraph is one example, having gone heavily on the expenses scandal a few years ago, being particularly hard on any politicians who could be labelled posh and then hanging on UKIP’s every word during the referendum, it now attracts a quite different readership. Unfortunately for the Telegraph, you can’t successfully out mail the mail it seems and many, more moderate, long-standing readers, including yours truly, have abandoned ship.

  9. Macron

    I think someone needs to tell him that if he wants tariff free access to the UK market for french agricultural products-be my guest- but you are going to have to grant access for financial services.

  10. @Trevor Warne – “@ DANNY (last thread) – Juncker was very clear.”

    Yes, I would agree with that.

    “I laughed at DANNY and ALEC’s n4ive reading of Juncker’s comments….”

    This is more puzzling, but I’ll put it down to the fact the with your multiple and volumminous posts you have to rely on skimming the headlines rather than looking at the detail of what was actually stated by the protagonists.

    The Reuters report on this was pretty good (although their headline was not). They summarised it as follows; “EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker renewed an offer to Britain on Wednesday to stay in the European Union and said he hoped that even if it goes through with Brexit it would apply to rejoin the bloc.”

    The offer to remain in the EU was the primary point, (as with Tusk’s statement) with the rejoining after leaving only a secondary point, with the entire speech making it clear that he didn’t want the UK to leave. My and @Danny’s interpretation of this is because this is what he said, your because you fell for the interpretation the press put on this.

    The EU is currently trying it’s best to nudge the remain option, because that is in it’s best interests. I don’t really see why this is partcularly difficult to understand, especially because it is precisely what Junkers actually said.

  11. Alec

    In fact what they are saying is forget legal actions to establish whether A50 is revokable or not. Just accept it is not.leave on March 29th and then reapply to join on 30th of march
    It beggars belief.

  12. If I may go off at a bit of a tangent, can anyone explain about the Carillion situation to me?

    Specifically, there are calls for big infrastructure projects to be brought back into the public sector. Now I don’t remember the government ever directly employing vast numbers of construction workers, so the actual work would always have been done by private companies. So how would the situation be any different? Any of those private companies could and probably did, go bust at any time.

    I’ll look at any replies tomorrow. Thank you for your indulgence.

  13. EU

    it is all very condescending.They will graciously allow us to pay £9.4bn
    danegeld into their coffers and they will overlook the abberation that was the referendum.
    They clearly overestimate TM. This is a politician impervious to sublety and guile.Brickbats bounce off her and she ploughs on with no obstacle insumountable. she does not see difficulties therefore they do not exist. It is like some Oxbridge entrance conundrum. She cannot and will not be stopped from delivering Brexit because her imagination does not allow a different course.

    The EU politicians used to clever felllows like Blair are in for a shock.

  14. GRAHAM

    For several years the polls in Scotland have tended to overstate SNP support and I suspect that continues to be the case. In a real Westminster election I believe the SNP would struggle to hold 20 seats. Many would be lost to Labour in Glasgow & the Central Belt – with Labour likely climbing back to 25 – 30 seats and becoming the largest party there again.

    That’s not really true. One of the ironies of the last two General Elections was that the pollsters got Scotland pretty much correct – indeed their problems were in England outside London. In 2017 they maybe had the SNP a point or two high:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_general_election,_2017#Scotland

    while in 2015 they were low by a couple of points (and too high for Labour):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_general_election,_2015#Scotland

    the only pattern of error I can see over the years is that polling tends to overestimate the Greens Regional Holyrood vote.

    With regard to the Westminster VI here, the fact that both UKIP and Green have increased their vote here is rather moot, given they only fought nine and three seats last time respectively and at this rate UKIP may not even exist soon. So most of their voters will have to make another choice.

  15. @Peter B
    The government did employ a large number of construction workers. Quick look at ONS even in 1991 there was 182k construction workers in the public sector, there are now (2017Q3) 36k. That is after the huge transfer in the 1980’s. My father was a councillor then and remembers all the council house builders been ‘transferred’ to the private sector the numbers were in the thousands and this was for a sparsely populated area (Cornwall). then all the road layers being transferred, then the maintenance been contracted out.
    Everything had to go to contract. The private sector often lose led a contract, remove the public sector and then had no public competition for the next tender as the department had gone.

  16. Passtherockplease,
    ” the scos Tories have not really used their clout in any way whatsoever”

    Hmm. My thesis of late has been that the tories as a whole are seeking a route by which the Uk will remain in the EU. if so, it would not be a surprise if the scots tories are not making waves.

    Polling point!
    Nigel Farage was on the media just now, talking about Trump, and in particular arguing that polling of leaders standing does not report what it seeks to do. He argued that polling confuses personal liking for someone, and the desireability of that person to be the chosen leader. Thus in that case, trump could get a massive negative score because people dislike him, but still get their votes.

    We do keep discussing the reported popularity of leaders amongst voters, but however carefully the questions are worded, do people really answer the question accurately? The last election saw a massive swing in opinon polls as people came close to the actual vote they really would make, rather than a more cursory opinion of a party/leader.

    People saying thye liked May, disliked Corbyn – wasnt worth twoppence on the day.

  17. Trevor Warne,
    ” I seriously doubt any of them are blaming UK law!”

    I dont suppose they are either. You say you laugh at PTRP’s observation, but in fact you dont say it isnt true. His central point is obviously right, that Greece needs debt relief. He also seems to have pointed out it is legally impossible to write off debt issued in the Uk or US, and maybe even if issued in other jurisdictions, US/UK agencies could still buy up that debt and use US or Uk law to enforce Greek payment.

    I have half an idea I already heard something similar elsewhere. Are you saying this is plain false?

    We are all going to need an awful lot of debt written off, sooner or later.

    A Thomas,
    “In fact what they are saying is forget legal actions to establish whether A50 is revokable or not. Just accept it is not”

    This is quite extraordinary. You seem to have a completely different interpretation of the actual words to others here. Seems exactly the situation as per the recent UK/EU agreement, where when I read the text, it clearly (well, perhaps not quite clearly), states we shall remain effectively a member if the EU markets bound by its rules. Yet many people have sought to spin this as pretty much the exact opposite.

    Pete B,
    “how would the situation be any different”

    In the past governments employed builders to build things. Nowadays we seem to have invented PFI, where we give them an existing asset of land and buildings, they pay to rebuild it and then rent it back to the nation. In Carillion’s case, it seems they dont even build anything either. They appear to be just a middle man getting a commission on hiring builders on behalf of, er, probably themselves or yet another company financing the PFI.

  18. And left foot forward are saying they have a BMG poll saying voters think we should stay in the SM by the rather eye-catching margin of 60% to 16%. But I can’t find this one on the BMG website.
    https://leftfootforward.org/2018/01/breaking-majority-back-remaining-in-single-market-and-customs-union/

  19. Nope

    That’s another question being drip fed out!

  20. @S Thomas – “In fact what they are saying is forget legal actions to establish whether A50 is revokable or not. Just accept it is not.leave on March 29th and then reapply to join on 30th of march
    It beggars belief.”

    Would you be able to identify where they have said this please. With quotes, if possible.

    I’ve looked, but I can find no such meaning in anything Junkers or Tusk have said, but you might be better than I at reading and researching.

  21. @s Thomas – “it is all very condescending.They will graciously allow us to pay £9.4bn
    danegeld into their coffers and they will overlook the abberation that was the referendum.”

    Again, here I’m struggling to grasp your interpretation. I think most people looking at this would probably conclude that it’s the UK that is overlooking the referendum. We are leaving, ad leave means leave, as they say.

    The problem appears to arise when leavers can’t seem to accept we are leaving, but instead expect that we can still retain the best possible trading terms with the single market, on our terms, despite saying that we don’t want to be part of it.

    Macron has highlighted this again yesterday. As they have consitently done throughout, the EU has been clear that as we have chosen to leave we will be treated equally with other non member countries – “The choice is up to Britain: it’s not my choice – but they can have no differentiated access to financial services,….If you want access for financial services, be my guest – but it means you have to contribute to the budget, and accept European jurisdiction. It’s a situation that exists for Norway”.

    Why is it not possible for leavers to understand that leave means leave, and respect what they think the referendum means?

  22. @Alec “not quite sure why that link to the comments of the former Bank of France governor were directed to me?”

    I referenced you because it dovetailed with our previous conversations, there was no inference that you suggested Brexit would be a catastrophe for the City which you clearly haven’t.

    “In other words, he thinks that perhaps we may go back to the reltive balance between London and Paris from two decades ago, when Paris was significantly more important in relative terms. That seems about right to me. There will be some significant shifting of business, but no meltdown.”

    Two to three decades ago the Stock Markets and the trading that went on in them was a far bigger proportion of financial trade than it is today. That is why Paris was relatively bigger back then.

    At the turn of the century, New York captured about 75% of global stock trading. Within 8 years it had dropped to just 15%! Not only had regional stock markets taken off but global trade and globalization, in general, presented a huge need for financial services.

    London has surged ahead of everyone else because it has centered itself as the world finance hub in a globalized world. It foresaw the need for infrastructure, expertise, and services in expanded and newer financial instruments and positioned itself appropriately.

    There is no simple turning back the clock here for Paris, it is a very different world now.

  23. PETEB

    @” Now I don’t remember the government ever directly employing vast numbers of construction workers, so the actual work would always have been done by private companies.”

    I listened with care to all the Labour spokespeople on tv , including JC.

    Yes-you could very easily conclude that their incoherent frothing & calls for “bringing it all in-house” does-as you say-imply a State Construction Company .

  24. Been party to a few very interesting conversations this week as people have twigged quite how small the Conservative membership is.

    I hope I’m not blowing anyone’s plans here but look out for a sudden sharp influx of young Conservative members this spring.

  25. Colin: Yes-you could very easily conclude that their incoherent frothing & calls for “bringing it all in-house” does-as you say-imply a State Construction Company .

    I have no particular dog in this fight, but I don’t find phrases like “incoherent frothing” add to the persuasiveness of your point: quite the opposite.

    However, for what it’s worth, I see “bringing it all in-house” as meaning a return to the model where government decided on an infrastructure investment, either designed it in-house or commissioned the design, then put the contract to build it out to tender. Once built, the state then owned and either ran it, or paid a company to do so.

    That model does not, as far as I can see, imply or require any state construction organisation.

  26. Boy that Macron chap like the sound of his own voice.

  27. @Colin

    Boy that Macron chap like the sound of his own voice.

    Can’t think of a senior politician that doesn’t

  28. SOMERJOHN

    @”However, for what it’s worth, I see “bringing it all in-house” as meaning a return to the model where government decided on an infrastructure investment, either designed it in-house or commissioned the design, then put the contract to build it out to tender. Once built, the state then owned and either ran it, or paid a company to do so.”

    That can’t be what JC means-that is the existing system.

    The State decides it wants a new Hospital/Rail Station/Road/School etc , and through the relevant State Agency pays a company or companies to design & build it.

    The State pays for it & owns it. In the case of PFI it does so through an off balance sheet equivalent of Hire Purchase.

    The State may manage the new asset with State employees, with contracted Private Sector Employees, with a Franchise/Lease contract , or in the case of PFI via the PFI contract provider itself.

    My assumption is that “bringing it all in-house” means carrying all of the tasks involved in design, construction & management of new State assets with State employees on the State Payroll , managed by State Agencies or The Civil Service.

    One question remains unanswered-are Labour spokespersons who advocate “bringing it all in-house” refering to the provision of all State Public Services , as well as the acquisition of new State Assets.

  29. WB

    It is a comparative thing with them-certainly.

    But on that basis, EM is more windy than most.

  30. @ PTRP – there’s an enormous literature of failed ‘bail-outs’ going to back to Latin crisis, etc. Unless and until you allow a deep and broad ‘restructuring of debt’ (major default, not simply roll overs) the debtor country stays in coma like depression with the odd pulse of life. In addition when a country has a currency peg (e.g. Argentina or in this case PIGS) – the peg has to be a abandoned to allow the ‘markets’ to give the debtor nation a chance of recovery in its current account (higher exports, more tourism, more domestic production, less imports). The short-term losers are of course the creditors (almost always banks but for PIGS it is also nations subject to the creditor nations voters). However, simply rolling over debt and making it harder and harder for debtors to pay you is a bad long-term policy as has been proven repeatedly in the past. Eventually the debtor defaults and at that time the humans at the banks or political positions at the time of the final straw that breaks the camels back take the hit – not the humans who continue a sadistic game they must know will end badly.
    Although he’s a bit too far left for my tastes he is probably more palatable to most LAB-Remain so I’d strongly suggest reading Stiglitz, “The Euro”. Parts I-III frequently use Greece as the example. Part IV offers reforms and other solutions.

  31. @Alec “Quite an interesting post. The idea that costs and barriers associated with trading with the biggest market in the world after Brexit won’t persuade bankers to leave London, but one tax change will. This seems a little contradictory?”

    The costs will rise for Europe if there is no deal because the banks will have to staff satellite offices there. Finance has no physical borders. London is interested in the world market first and foremost. Of course, a Tobin Tax would be awful as other financial centers would clearly then have a competitive advantage. We are talking about tens of trillions of trade on razor thin margins.

    “There is also another scenario. If a Tobin tax does end up raising large sums of money, I would imagine that cash strapped governments around the world might well look on and want a piece of what Corbyn’s having. Everyone loves the idea of a tax that the voters don’t pay. If that were to happen (which I suspect would be quite likely – it’s just like the dam bursting) then the relative impact on London might not be so great.”

    Would never happen unless there was a World Government. Hong Kong or Singapore, New York etc would buck the trend and grab huge market share.

  32. PPP or PFI was much of the time just a ruse to get investment off HMGs balance sheet due to the prevailing orthodoxy affecting political discourse to such an extent that borrowing to invest (even if Golden rules not broken doing so) was damaging politically. I such cases the argument for bringing back financing to be directly under HMG is strong imo.

    Some PFIs and PPP, to be fair, where about passing the responsibility for construction and on-going operation and maintenance to the same super-contractor. This ensured that higher maintenance costs that might be incurred if the initial construction was shoddy was borne by the initial contractor. In such cases higher borrowing costs would be worth it for the added efficiencies and better initial construction.

    Sadly the laudable and innovative approach became a default position and genuine comparators where not made in many cases.

  33. Colin

    “EM is more windy than most”

    Surely that’s also a charge that could be directed against any of those of us who post here a lot?

    Pots? kettles?

  34. PeteB, speaking as your friendly neighborhood chartered Civil Engineer……

    I work for a consultant and am heavily involve in local authority work. We operate under a framework lasting for several years across many councils, whereby we work to heavily discounted rates in return for a steady stream of work.

    Our local council has an in house contracting division, and some in-house consulting capability. These may have been larger in the past, but I believe that even here the private sector would have been involved in larger schemes, albeit in a smaller capacity.

    I think that the main difference between then and now is that where-as local authorities would have brought in smaller local firms in the past, they now have agreements with larger companies across multiple councils. This actually saves on admin for them, and is pretty much inevitable as there has been a massive consolidation of the UK construction industry over the last 10 years or so, with almost all middle-sized firms being bought up into multi-national giants.

    National level infrastructure has always been undertaken by the private sector, and always will be. There’s nothing new in someone like Carrilion building hospitals and by-passes; its just that they messed up.

    Network Rail are the other interesting one. They also work under multi-year frameworks with both contractors and consultants. That’s a whole other world though due to the specialist nature of working around live railways, and I could perhaps see more being brought back in house there.

    Rather than the civil engineering sector, i think its the cleaning type contracts that will be the potential private sector casualties of all this. Those and potentially the whole PFI concept of funding.

  35. @ OLDNAT – appreciate the info and discussion. If I get time I’ll look more into the situation in other countries as i can’t believe we are the first devolved-federal arrangement to deal with these kinds of issues. As well as politicians I’m sure a whole bunch of financial advisors are making a big deal out of what seems like a small incentive to be ‘creative’ on tax payments – lawyers and financial advisors always win! Thanks for highlighting the lower band changes and different political objectives – that will be more interesting.

    @ ALEC – UK and EU have both tried to use ‘divide and conquer’ tactic. The only difference being it failed for UK but is working for EU. This is classic negotiating tactics. Timing is the problem for both honest Remain and ‘purist’ Leavers and time is running out.
    This could end in a Mexican stand-off in October with the following guns pointed at each others economies (I’m exaggerating slightly for purpose of illustration here):
    – UK refuse to pay more than legal minimum, accept reciprocity on services that risks bankrupting several EU27 countries banking system and move to WTO on trade in goods which hits the EU quite hard (markets are not perfect – EU exporters will bear the lions share of the tariff hit and £ will weaken to at least compensate UK exports for EU imposed tariffs (as we’ve seen in the last 18mths). EU can explain that outcome to their citizens.
    – EU deny their companies access to the highly efficient London capital market, effectively via reciprocity impose tariffs on their 100bn/year net exports to UK which combined with a € appreciation start to impact their profitability as well as volume on exports to UK (as we’ve seen in imports of cars already) and punish the far smaller UK-EU export market which hopefully sees a HMG response to smooth out. The biggest sector risk is food, unless we drop tariffs to zero with a unilateral customs understanding we would not be able to feed ourselves (Thatcher stored coal to defeat the miners, its a bit harder with perishable food).

    If we go back just a short period in UK history you can see the n4ivity of Blair as he became Bush’s lap dog on Iraq War (one for PTRP!!) and then Clegg’s n4ivity when he became Osborne’s b1tch on austerity.

    I don’t want the Mexican stand-off situation and doubt many people do. I expect we would cave in and end up trying to use A49 after Mar’19 to get back in or even better for EU accept colony status.

    An interesting poll question would be to ask if people thought Remaining on same terms (let’s ignore DC’s concessions) would be a possible outcome from Brexit negotiations. Answer options “yes – same”, “no -worse than we had before” guess would be 50/50 for Remain but 5/95 for Leave giving an overall 30% yes and 70% no. Clearly Remain like yourself and DANNY think same terms might be possible, I very much doubt many Leavers do but until we see a poll that asks this reasonable question we’re left with the Bregret hindsight polls giving Remainers hope – hope that “good cop” Tusk is happy to encourage as divide and conquer will get them a better deal. Macron was more honest, maybe too honest – along with his countryman Barnier they are presenting the more realistic “cop” but hey, n=1 IMHO!

    P.S. We’ll also ignore the fact that neither party want this option or want a referendum and time is running out anyway. Democracy is a series of moments along a continuum – unless a ‘moment’ to reverse is offered by our elected representatives then the issue of time will certainly turn Revoke A50 into Rejoin via A49.

  36. @ SEA CHANGE / ALEC – RoI and Luxembourg are perfect examples of countries happy to use aggressive tax policy to ‘poach’ business. The ‘race to the bottom’ created by the half-baked political union of EU that put the cart of economic union ahead of the horse of full political union has created this ne0liberal beggar-they-neighbour competition.

    I actually respect the likes of Macron and Schultz for wanting the finish the project – harmonisation of corporation tax or at least stamping down of the tax avoiders being top priority. UK’s economy would be badly suited to fit in a fully baked EU federal state IMHO but if a UK political party wanted to rejoin that reformed EU then for sure they should run for govt with that in their manifesto in 2022, 2027, 2032, etc.

  37. JIM JAM

    PFI is an alternative Funding system ( to outright purchase).

    As you imply it was as much a political decision as a Financial one.

    OLDNAT

    Indeed so. But how many of us do so as elected politicians ?

  38. Alec

    A50 and A49

    What is being pointed out to the UK is that there is no point seeking to find out whether A50 is revokable or not. It is a dead parrot.
    If you have the political will to revoke A50 it can only be done with the intention of remaining in the EU. What the `eu are saying is why bother? you can rejoin us under A49 anyway and our surrender terms will be generous.

    As for the trade deal i think you area little blinkered here.If the EU seriously wants to negotiate with us as a third country then fine. But as a third country doing a trade deal why should we accept a permanent trade imbalance in goods? As the UK has strength in financial services any third country would wish these to be included to redress the balance. it is precisely because the EU will not treat the UK as a third country that the problem arises.It is a political imperative that financial services are not included because to do so would make the UK position better than it was in the sM.
    If they are against the financial services any third country would try and reach trade equilibrium by the use of tariffs on goods.

  39. I was an (IT) outsourcer in a previous life – including a couple of PFIs –
    and I believe what we did was positive. Council (and C government, and private sector) IT departments were often run in an old-fashioned way. Staff were neither trained nor paid in the manner they would be in a specialist firm and performance suffered. Many staff TUPE’d across to us (others were redeployed or made redundant) and in many or most cases enjoyed a revived career with new horizons, better training and more pay – especially younger ones. The fix was done in a few months, then we carried on for 5 years typically (OK, that was embedding) but then it was rebid. There wasn’t much change to do, we would usually win the rebid and continue a stable service taking home 30% Gross Margin. Lovely business and in pole position if they wanted new systems implemented.
    And IT is quite hard, unlike street sweeping and parks maintenance and bin emptying. Many councils are now taking these services back in house. The staff TUPE into the council and continue doing precisely as before but with a bit of public service ethos and flexibility thrown in. Oh and a saving to the public purse of 25 to 30% . What’s not to like? OK in ten years the services may (or may not) benefit from a shakeup: if so, go to the market again.

  40. Corporate tax models in USA and Switzerland:

    Out of time to fully research but roughly and rounded, ignoring credits (which is a huge topic):

    USA: 20% federal + 0-10% state level
    Swiss: 8% federal + 10-25% canton level

    The states/cantons have more leeway than I thought but clearly some attempt to ensure competition is somewhat fair at the federal level.

    Apple are believed to pay a 0.005% tax rate in RoI, which EU have finally cottoned onto! Amazon pay 7.25% in Luxembourg and got a slap on the wrist.

    Greece?? 20% corporation tax before bail-out #1, after bail-out #3 they are having to charge 29% to try to meet the crushing primary surplus terms of the bail out.

    Was this the aim of the EU and the SM and CU? Any genuine socialist should be disgusted and in that regard I agree with Corbyn.

    [next week maybe we’ll look at the debt burden left with the citizens of the PIGS while Germany and Netherlands get back to pre-crisis debt levels and continue the Swabian housewife example by turning in budget surpluses and SGP rule bending/breaking trade surplus – not to mention extremely low levels of unemployment and hence welfare payments]

  41. TW (fpt): Great to see UK 2017 GDP registering 1.8% with a drop in non-essential spending…. So +1.9% GDP in 2016 and +1.8% GDP in 2017 is “economy crashing”??

    I know you like to pluck figures from the air for your ‘modelling’, but where are you getting 1.8% 2017 GDP growth from?

    Cumulative growth in the first 3 quarters was 1.0% (0.3, 0.3, 0.4) so your 1.8% for the year requires a massive growth spurt in Q4 to 0.8%.

    Mainstream commentators are forecasting 0.3% or 0.4% again in Q4, with the risks probably on the downside with weakness in retail sales and construction.

    We may not yet be experiencing an “economy crashing”, but the progression from 2.2% growth in the pre-referendum year of 2015, to 1.8% in referendum year, to a likely 1.4% in 2017, paints a pretty clear picture.

  42. Somerjohn @ TW

    Just read an article reminding us about the limits of the current obsession with GDP as a simple measure of the economy.

    https://thecommongreen.scot/2018/01/18/the-limits-of-gdp/

  43. @S thomas – “What is being pointed out to the UK is that there is no point seeking to find out whether A50 is revokable or not. It is a dead parrot.
    If you have the political will to revoke A50 it can only be done with the intention of remaining in the EU. What the `eu are saying is why bother? you can rejoin us under A49 anyway and our surrender terms will be generous.”

    I’m sorry, but this is completely wrong. Again, if you can point to anything said by the EU that backs up your assertion it would be helpful, as I simply don’t understand why you continue to completely misrepresent what they are saying.

    They have not made any comment as far as I can see regarding the wisdom of seeking a legal opinion on A50, and they certainly _are not_telling us to forget about A50 because we can rejoin under A49 anyway. That is entirely false.

    Their language has been absolutely clear, and you really need to read this more carefully. To repeat, what they have said is;

    1) If the UK wishes, we can cancel A50 and remain.
    2) The EU would welcome this
    3) By implication, the revocation of A50 would be accepted without any alteration to our terms of membership (eg, just foget the whole things and carry on as before.
    4) If the UK does leave, the EU would see this as highly regretable and a failure on their part
    5) However, if this did happen, they would welcome us rejoining under A49.

    Apart from point 3), which has been implied but as far as I can tell not made explicit, this is the entirety of what Junker and tusk said this week. Your interpretation is entirely wrong, and I simply don’t understand how people who can apparently read and understand written English can mistake what they were saying.

    @Trevor Warne – “…or even better for EU accept colony status.”

    Bewildering. I won’t even go there.

  44. @SEACHANGE
    There is another reason why a country might wish to withdraw notice if it could, though the implications of that are one of the reasons why it seems rational to suppose it can’t.

    A country could by doing so, and then resubmitting notice the following day, unilaterally frustrate the two year limit the Article places on reaching an ageeement.

    It would give the prospective leaver an ability to prevaricate indefinitely if it did not get its own way. I cannot believe that is the intention of the provision.

  45. OLDNAT

    The first requirement on measuring the UK Economy is to get the correct answer.

    https://www.ftadviser.com/investments/2018/01/19/ons-admits-it-may-have-under-estimated-uk-economic-growth/

    Other commentators on this revelation point out that it probably means that the UK “productivity” conundrum hasn’t really been a conundrum at all.

  46. Colin

    I’d have thought the “first requirement” would be to make sure that you were asking the right set of questions.

  47. Another Budget question in the YG Scottish poll in the Times it seems.

    This being reported

    “73% of Scottish voters believe private schools should lose their charitable status; 13% support status quo. Abt 60% of Tory voters support change according to YouGov in today’s Times”

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